Manly is in Des Hasler's blood and after a seven-year hiatus, he is returning to the helm of the northern beaches club as head coach next year.
- Des Hasler coached Manly from 2004 to 2011, winning two premierships
- Manly refused to release outgoing coach Trent Barrett from his remaining 12-month contract – it is unclear what role he will play in 2019
- It is hoped Hasler will lift the team's performance after the they finished 15th on the ladder this year
Hasler played for the club from 1984 to 1993 and went on to coach the team from 2004 to 2011 — winning two premierships titles — and he still lives on the northern beaches.
"It's great to be back coaching…looking forward to getting back to that day-to-day interaction and work with the players," he said.
Manly chief executive Scott Penn said the deal took three weeks to work out, but the players were still on break so have not heard from the new coach.
Mr Penn said that, during a recent club event, Manly members had been firm in their calls to put a "Manly man" in charge.
"We've won all eight premierships with a Manly man in charge, so we are confident Des can bring us back the success that we need," he said.
Out with the new, in with the old
The elephant in the room is how current head coach Trent Barrett will part ways with Manly.
Rookie coach Barrett has been in the top job since 2016, but handed his in resignation three months ago.
He still has one year on this contract and the club indicated it does not want to pay him out and is forcing him to see out a 12-month notice period, ending his tenure in July 2019.
He has aired a host of grievances about the club's management and inadequate facilities.
Manly management refused to shed light on what Barrett's role will be, but have made it clear Hasler will be the head coach for 2019.
"I think we've been pretty clear for the last few months that Trent is still employed by the club," Mr Penn said.
"There's a contract on foot — he resigned, that was his decision and — as a club we need to protect our interests and that is exactly what we are doing."
On working with Barrett, the incoming coach appeared cagey.
"To tell you the truth, I haven't had any discussion around that and there've been the negotiations I've had — there's been no discussions about Trent," Hasler said.
"But I think you'll have to ask the media manager that, because I thought he said there were no questions on Trent Barrett."
Will fans renew their faith?
Hasler's first tenure at Manly ended abruptly, leaving at the end of 2011 to coach the Canterbury Bulldogs from 2012.
He was sacked from the Bulldogs last year and blamed for the club's salary cap breaches, and has spent a year out of the limelight.
Six years ago it would have seemed impossible for him to return to the Sea Eagles.
"You learn very soon in rugby league that all things are possible," Hasler said.
The 2018 season was disappointing for the team, which finished 15th on the ladder.
Manly fans seem to have lost faith, with crowd numbers at their lowest level in decades.
Manly management is hoping Hasler's experience and discipline will turn the beleaguered club's fortunes around.
"It's about — from the bottom all the way to the top — the journey that lies ahead." Hasler said.
[The fans] are very passionate and very supportive so fan engagement is huge."