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Manly seven told not to attend, Hastings backs bunker despite blunder, Dufty relieved to leave Dogs

Manly have told their seven boycotting players not to attend Thursday night’s clash against the Sydney Roosters for safety reasons as the fallout of their jersey controversy continues.

The Sea Eagles will wear the league’s first pride jersey, but not before a week of drama that resulted in the request for players to stay at home to ensure their safety.

The club took another hit on Wednesday night with prop Sean Keppie ruled out of the crucial match with a shoulder injury and Bob Fulton’s grandson Zac set to debut off the bench.

It also became clearer how several opportunities for the players and NRL bosses to be made aware of the jersey and better prepared for the initiative slipped through the cracks in planning that began as early as the pre-season.

It’s believed Dynasty Sport offered the inclusive rainbow design to several clubs, with Manly the only NRL team to take up the option.

The design then had to be put to the NRL’s licensing team, before manufacturing was approved after some minor changes.

Some clubs have already sent the Anzac Round designs for 2023 to ensure they do not clash, but it is unclear when Manly’s was officially entered as it was not for a specific round.

In the time since, Manly have parted ways with chief executive Stephen Humphreys with his replacement not due to start until next week.

That is also just the start of the process.

Clubs submit their planned strips for each round of the year well in advance, with those for the second half of the season to be entered around April.

Once in, the jersey would have been ticked off on by the NRL’s football department given it did not in any way clash with the Roosters’ jersey.

At that point everyone that mattered was across the design after its official approval, except for Manly’s players, coaches and the NRL’s bosses.

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Ultimately, that failure in communication cost the Sea Eagles what should have been a landmark moment.

Instead, little time was available to explain to players the reasoning behind the significance of the “everyone in league” jersey, which included the LGBTQI community.

The seven players had religious, cultural and in most cases family issues on their minds, and opted not to wear the jersey.

ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys was also still bewildered on Wednesday as to why Manly had chosen Women in League Round to wear the jersey.

He too was in the dark until just before the story broke, with other departments merely ticking off requirements and not feeling the need to pass the jersey up the chain.

In that time, Manly management also did not contact the NRL to run them through their plans, perhaps another result of not having a CEO.

Had the NRL’s top brass been informed, it is likely they would have consulted the Rugby League Players’ Association on the matter to ensure a collaborative approach.

It’s also likely the jersey would have been pushed to another weekend, not to overshadow Women in League Round.

Instead, the end result is a Manly side missing seven fit players on Thursday night, with two wingers on debut and a bench utility playing for the first time since 2019.

It’s the kind of line-up that would leave the likes of James Tedesco, Luke Keary, Joey Manu and Sam Walker licking their lips.

It’s also the kind of siege mentality Hasler’s sides have usually thrived on.

Not that Roosters coach Trent Robinson can’t see it working this time, with both teams level on wins in eighth and ninth.

“The issue has been created by them, usually siege mentalities are against an opponent that does something to you,” Robinson said.

“I don’t think they can take that line.”

Hastings back bunker despite blunder

Jackson Hastings admits his Wests Tigers teammates are still stinging from their last-gasp loss to North Queensland, but doesn’t want the NRL to scale back on video technology.

The Cowboys were able to challenge an escort ruling on the last play of Sunday’s game, with Valentine Holmes kicking them to a 27-26 victory with a penalty goal.

The NRL has argued that the Cowboys had a right to challenge the last play but that the decision of bunker referee Ashley Klein to award an escort penalty wasn’t sufficient.

There have been calls for the bunker to only be used on try or no-try decisions and there have even been suggestions that the captain’s challenge should be scrapped.

Hastings, who spent the last four years of his career in the Super League where video technology is not used in every game, said that he felt a video referee was beneficial in ensuring that the right calls were being made more often than not.

Jackson Hastings of the Tigers looks dejected after losing the round 19 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Wests Tigers at Qld Country Bank Stadium, on July 24, 2022, in Townsville, Australia.  (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Jackson Hastings after Wests Tigers lost the Round 19 match against North Queensland. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

“I think the technology has been great,” he told AAP. “I heard a bit of what (NRL head of football) Graham Annelsey said but the correct call outweighs the incorrect call.

“We certainly need technology and I feel like it’s good for the game. Maybe they could have a look at when it can and can’t be used.

“I am just a player and don’t want to get into any debates. As a kid you’re taught to play to the whistle and everything else is out of my control.”

The Tigers have flagged a possible legal challenge to overturn the Cowboys’ victory and have voiced their displeasure with the officiating.

Hastings said he and his Tigers teammates have turned their focus to Saturday’s game away to Brisbane, even if they were still in disbelief.

“It stings not having the two points and all the stuff in and around it (like the club challenging the result), it’s nothing to do with us players,” he said.

“We are human beings and it does hurt and it will hurt for a while.

“I’ve given up trying to think about the rules and everything that went wrong.

“It was hard to cop because of how hard we’d worked for Jimmy Tamou’s 300th game.

“I’m hurting for him and our fans who have stuck solid by us but we’re looking forward to a tough test against Brisbane.”

Matt Dufty of the Bulldogs during the round eight NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Sydney Roosters at Stadium Australia on April 30, 2022 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Matt Dufty. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Dufty relieved, Taufua’s bad break

Ex-Canterbury full-back Matt Dufty has explained why he will be making his Warrington debut this weekend – a year after saying a move to Super League would be a backward step.

The 26-year-old is set to make his debut at Huddersfield on Saturday after fast-tracking his move to England following his release by the Canterbury Bulldogs, where he was a little over halfway through a 12-month contract.

A year ago Dufty said a move to Super League would be a backward step at that stage of his career but now he has said he needed to remove himself from the glare of the media.

Meanwhile, Wakefield’s Tongan international Jorge Taufua has suffered a season-ending injury just two matches into his Super League career.

The 30-year-old former Manly Sea Eagles winger scored a try on his home debut in their defeat by St Helens last weekend before breaking his arm. “He had a pretty bad break in his arm and had an operation on Monday morning,” head coach Willie Poching said.

Dufty, speaking on Wednesday at his first press conference as a Warrington player, said his relationship with the media was behind his U-turn. “They are a lot harsher, you are a lot more in the spotlight, especially in Sydney.

“I don’t read the papers but I was getting slammed a bit at the start of the year and it really started to affect my mum and dad and my children. Mental health is a big thing and it was starting to get to the point where I was losing the drive to come to training and losing the drive to play.

“For a sportsman, if you’re not enjoying doing what you’re doing, it’s a massive thing. I was still playing good footy, I just needed a fresh start.”

Dufty had been on coach Daryl Powell’s radar since his time at Castleford but it was Wigan’s Australian pair, Jai Field and Kaide Ellis, who finally sold him the idea of ​​coming to Super League.

“I played a lot of under-20s with Fieldy at St George Illawarra,” he said. “We’re pretty similar, we’ve got speed and love to skip around the field.

“Fieldy was under a bit of pressure in his last year at St George Illawarra as well and he said it’s a lot better over here in that sense. Also, the way he likes to play footy suits him and he loves living in Manchester.

“Kaide Ellis is one of my best mates – we lived together for two years – and he was telling me how much he loves the lifestyle so that was a big selling point for me as well.

“I said last year I wasn’t ready to come to Super League but I always wanted to come.

“At the time, I was on 82 NRL games and it was a goal of mine to get to the 100-game mark. At that time in my life I was not ready to move, I was a lot younger mentally, that’s what I meant, I didn’t mean any disrespect.

“It’s a goal for me to experience a different competition and this felt like the right time.”

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