Manly legend Paul ‘Fatty’ Vautin has admitted he was surprised club bosses recruited from outside their “fabric” in hiring a new coach.
The club will commence the post-Des Hasler era against the Bulldogs in round one next Saturday afternoon.
After capitulating at the end of the 2022 season in the wake of the pride jersey saga, Hasler was shown the door, and Anthony Seibold given the keys to the castle.
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Vautin said he thought Geoff Toovey may have been given a second tenure after he was punted from the role at the end of 2015.
In the club’s history, the Sea Eagles had only ever had four coaches who had not previously played for the club – Graham Lowe, Peter Sharp and Trent Barrett, and now Seibold.
“They’ve only ever had success when a former Manly player has coached … and it’s like a fabric,” Vautin told Wide World of Sports at Nine’s NRL season launch.
“Manly becomes part of your body when you play for them, so I’m surprised they went outside of a Manly player [as coach].”
Vautin said aside from Toovey, another potential candidate was current Broncos assistant Matt Ballin.
Despite that, Vautin – who played 204 games for the Sea Eagles throughout the 1980s – said he was impressed with the Sea Eagles’ trials performance.
The club won games against the Roosters and Rabbitohs, and collected the $100,000 pre-season challenge.
Vautin said while Hasler’s sacking “wasn’t a shock”, he believed the legendary coach could be back at the helm of an NRL club by the end of the year.
“It was sad because he’s a club legend, and it’s sad when club legends get punted like that,” he said.
“But he’s a strong guy, he’ll bounce back, he’ll be coaching somewhere within a year or two. Someone’s going to get the punt, and he’ll be back.
“I haven’t spoken to him in a while, but I know he’s enjoying life at the moment, not having any responsibility. He’s taking it easy, eagerly awaiting another opportunity.
“He’s not done yet.”
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