Footy legend Andrew Johns says there WILL be clashes over Manly’s pride jersey – and team can’t possibly win crucial game against Roosters due to club’s shocking mistake
- He has slammed the club for their handling of the pride jersey fiasco
- Johns declared there was no way the club could win missing seven key players
- The players stood down after not being consulted over the rainbow jersey
- The Roosters vs Sea Eagles match is set to kick-off at 7.50pm tonight
Rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns has predicted the Manly pride jersey saga will lead to clashes within the team and declared there is no way the club can win their crucial match against the Roosters at Brookvale Oval on Thursday night.
Seven Sea Eagles stars – Josh Aloiai, Jason Saab, Josh Schuster, Haumole Olakau’atu, Tolutau Koula, Christian Tuipulotu and Toafofoa Sipley – announced they will boycot the game because the strip goes against their religious and cultural beliefs.
They claimed the club didn’t consult them before releasing the rainbow jersey, which may prove to be a shocking mistake in the context of their season.
Andrew Johns has declared the pride jersey saga will lead to clashes within the Manly team
Manly players Sean Keppie (left), Kieran Foran (middle) and Reuben Garrick pose in the club’s pride jersey before its launch on Monday, which blindsided the rest of the team
Johns described the situation as a complete ‘mess’, and laid the blame squarely at the feet of the club for the ‘poor communication’.
He said there was no way the saga wouldn’t have an impact on Manly’s unity and culture heading into the clash – and he was quite blunt about their chances.
‘I know there will be denials, but there would be unrest among the players. Quite simply, Manly just can’t win,’ he wrote for Fairfax.
‘I dare say this may be the game that costs Manly a spot in the top eight. It’s just so ridiculous.’
The Sea Eagles (ninth) and Roosters (eighth) are currently equal on points on the ladder.
The match could have crucial implications as both sides vie for a finals spot with just six games remaining in the regular season.
The Roosters were too good for Manly in round two, with the Chooks scoring a comfortable 26-12 win at the SCG, led by a starring performance from boom five-eighth Sam Walker.
Morgan Harper (left) and Daniel Tupou (right) compete for the ball in the Roosters win over Manly in round 2 earlier this season
Manly prop Josh Aloiai is one of the seven Sea Eagles who won’t be playing in Thursday night’s blockbuster against the Roosters
Bookmakers have the Bondi side heavy favourites at around the $1.10 mark, with Manly paying as high as $6.50.
Johns admitted he felt ‘sorry’ for Manly fans over what should be a blockbuster clash at home with so much at stake.
Instead, they’ve been robbed of watching seven of the side’s top players and embroiled in a sorry mess over the simple goal of wanting promote inclusivity.
NRL commentator and former great Andrew Johns has slammed Manly’s handling of the pride jersey saga
The former Newcastle and NSW legend also blasted for the northern beaches team for taking the gloss off Women in League round, pointing out they previously had done so much to advance the cause.
‘I can remember in 2002 Manly were the trailblazers for women at football clubs,’ Johns wrote.
‘When the club was in dire straits after the failed Northern Eagles venture, Wendy Harmer and Sarah Murdoch started a group called the Eagles Angels.’
Aussie supermodel Sarah Murdoch with her husband, Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch. She was a force behind Manly’s Eagles Angels initiative, which broke new ground in footy
Fellow NSW great Paul Gallen echoed similiar sentiments.
‘I don’t know why Manly did this … I mean, Women in League round is so important … celebrate all the women in our lives and just get on with it,’ he said on Channel 9’s 100% Footy.
The match between the Sea Eagles and Roosters at Brookvale Oval is set to kick off at 7.50pm.
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