New Sea Eagles CEO passes Pride decisions back to NRL

New Manly CEO Tony Mestrov washes his hands of future marketing decisions related to the controversial Pride uniform saga which ultimately cost coach Des Hasler his job.

New Sea Eagles CEO passes Pride decisions back to NRL
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The Manly Sea Eagles will leave it to the NRL to decide whether players wear a Pride jumper next season.

Club chief executive Tony Mestrov said there would be no repeat of this year’s fiasco that saw seven players refuse to take the field rather than participate in the club’s self-declared Pride round.

The saga, though a marketing success, cost the Sea Eagles an important victory and, ultimately, coach Des Hasler his job when the loss meant they missed out on playing finals.

“If there’s any overarching initiatives, they’ll be run by the NRL. We’ve been in discussion with the NRL, and any initiative will be put forward by them, not us,” Mestrov said.

“We’ve got nothing further to add about us organising a Pride Round or a Rainbow Round.”

A number of Manly footballers have said they would not hesitate to stand down again if the club demanded they wear an LGBTQ+ jumper again in 2023.

Mestrov said the club erred by failing to communicate with its own players when it decided to use their Round 20 game against the Sydney Roosters to promote LBGTQ+ inclusion.

He said the mistake would not be repeated next season.

“The NRL will do the consulting. They will speak to the RLPA and the players and so on rather than a club itself. It works much better that way, we feel.

“I wasn’t here at the time, but from the people who do know me being here now, it’s about communication. There’s no way that for any reason the players shouldn’t have been communicated to."

New coach Anthony Seibold said it was “not for me to talk at this point of time” about whether or not he thought the club should wear the gay Pride jersey again.

Mestrov added: “We are here to win football games.”

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  • By Avi Yemini

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