Sea Eagles players have reportedly been angered by the seven’s decision to stand down from the club’s crucial Roosters clash, refusing to wear Manly’s pride jersey.
According to The Daily Telegraph, players traded angry text messages questioning why the seven players put the Sea Eagles’ finals hopes in danger.
In these text messages, players asked the players refusing to appear to change their mind, while senior squad members expressed their disappointment to coaching staff.
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The Manly playing group organised an emergency meeting on Sunday, hoping to smooth things over and mend relationships ahead of the last five rounds of the regular season.
Reports suggest the squad relieved tensions prior to the group’s return to training and the first grade side.
The emergency meeting was reportedly sparked by a breakfast between Aloiai, one of the players who stood down, Jake Trbojevic, Lachlan Croker and another team member.
Aloiai alongside Tolutau Koula, Haumole Olakau’atu, Jason Saab, Josh Schuster, Toafofoa Sipley and Christian Tuipulotu refused to play on religious grounds, angering teammates.
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According to reports, there is fears within the playing group the pride jersey saga could continue next season after players denied they would be willing to don the kit in 2023.
“I’m certainly aware the playing group is getting together,” Penn said on Big Sports Breakfast.
“It’s really important everyone gets together and just talks it through. There needs to be a ‘clear-the-air’ session which is perfectly normal in these circumstances.”
“There’s not a deep divide which has been reported but I think there is some frustration in terms of the way all this played out.
“I met with six of the seven – Josh (Aloiai) was injured and wasn’t training but I spoke to him a little bit later. They are very determined and they were put in a difficult position but there are absolutely no hard feelings at all. As I discussed with them at the time, their focus now is on Parramatta.
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“The seven were very clear in their view and religious beliefs and we totally respected that. They have copped it from certain circles and that is unfortunate because we didn’t ever want to put them in that position.
“We will see a very cohesive team for the next five weeks. It was an emotional week and the circumstances put everyone in a difficult position.”
Reports suggest the meeting was not to try and change views, but to clear the air and find common group as to why the group stood down.
As it stands, the Sea Eagles sit in 10th place, one win behind the Roosters and Raiders.
Des Hasler’s side will face the Eels, Titans, Sharks, Raiders and Bulldogs to close out the season, and every game is a must-win encounter.