Boardroom battle may hurt Sea Eagles - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Boardroom battle may hurt Sea Eagles

By Steve Jancetic 06/03/2009 09:45:11 PM Comments (0)

Manly's recruitment and retention plans for 2010 - which include the possible re-signing of off-contract skipper Matt Orford - are in danger of being scuttled by the NRL premiers' bitter boardroom battle.

That's the opinion of Sea Eagles chief executive Grant Mayer, whose own position at the club remains shrouded in mystery after he handed in his resignation last month when the fractured board refused to approve his contract extension.

The re-signing of Orford - last year's Dally M player of the year - is Mayer and coach Des Hasler's biggest roster decision. His retention would affect who else out of Test winger David Williams, Michael Robertson, Glen Hall and back-up hooker Heath L'Estrange the club could keep.

A decision on Orford will also determine Manly's recruitment targets, but Mayer admits the uncertainty at the boardroom level - where co-owners Scott Penn and Max Delmege are at loggerheads - could affect the club's ability to attract players.

"There's no doubt the issues we're facing at the moment have the potential to disrupt what we're doing, even down as far as player managers wanting to know a bit more about what's going on," Mayer said.

"There's certainly issues but I guess as far as the club is concerned, we're certainly looking towards 2010 and beyond now."

Orford, who turns 31 next month, would no doubt be in high demand both in Australia and abroad were he to test the open market.

Believed to be have signed a four-year $450,000-a-year deal with the Sea Eagles back in 2005, Orford would likely have to take a pay cut to remain on the northern beaches with the club battling to reward last year's grand final-winning side and remain under the salary cap.

Mayer said he had yet to sit down with Orford's management team, but hoped to have the diminutive playmaker's future sorted out as soon as possible.

"Matt Orford's certainly the most high profile player coming off contract and I think after his performance again in the World Club Challenge, there'll be no shortage of people going after him," Mayer said.

"I think his preference is to stay in Australia, and certainly with Manly, but there's been no talks about that at this stage. We expect that all to happen in the next couple of weeks.

"I wouldn't want to put a time frame on it, but I guess sooner rather than later.

"It's an important one - halfback at a club is the key decision maker, Matty's our captain, I'm sure for his own peace of mind he wants it sorted too."

As far as the possibility of chasing former Canberra halfback Todd Carney, who the Sea Eagles tried to sign last year, Mayer said: "We made an offer for Todd Carney 12 months ago. We've moved on well and truly from there."

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