Manly CEO quits, Broncos keen on Walsh as Warriors admit clause for concern, Barnett to exit Knights?

Broncos, featured, League, Matt Lodge, mitch barnett suspension, NRL 2022, NRL signings, Reece Walsh, Warriors

Manly are set for their sixth chief executive in eight years after Stephen Humphreys left his role with immediate effect.

The Sea Eagles are expected to confirm Humphrey’s exit on Friday, after his future was a point of discussion at a club board meeting on Thursday night.

Manly’s CEO office has been one of the greatest revolving doors of rugby league in recent years. David Perry held the position of general manager from 2011 to 2014, before being ousted as part of an ownership battle at the NRL club.

He was replaced by Joe Kelly, who stepped down amidst the match-fixing scandal involving the club which was ultimately cleared.

A former principal in Tim Cleary then lasted just five months in the role before losing out in a power struggle to Bob Fulton, before former Cronulla boss Lyall Gorman took charge.

Gorman was later moved onto another role before Humphreys took charge at the end of the 2019 season, in what was meant to be a new dawn for the club.

Instead, they are now on the look out for another replacement in the same week they celebrate the opening of their Centre of Excellence and the Bob Fulton Stand.

Broncos keep eye on Walsh

Warriors fullback Reece Walsh could be back at the Broncos as early as next year as doubts grow over whether he will stay with the club when they return to New Zealand in 2023.

Walsh linked with the Warriors a year ago when they were based in Gosford and the club has set up camp at Redcliffe this year before returning to Auckland next year now that pandemic travel restrictions are all but over.

According to a News Corp report, Walsh’s three-year deal includes a clause which enables the whizz-kid to get a release for “welfare” reasons and the rising star has the option of enacting that if he wanted to remain in Australia.

The Broncos have long held a desire to get Walsh back to Red Hill and with Tesi Niu failing to lock down the No.1 jersey, there is a spot there for the 19-year-old if he wanted to return.

Brisbane coach Kevin Walters on Friday wouldn’t speculate on Walsh’s potential return despite reports suggesting the Warriors’ move back to New Zealand next season could prompt him to seek an early transfer to a Queensland club.

“That’s not for discussion at the moment,” Walters said.

“Right now he’s wearing another jersey and we’ll be doing our best to minimise the impact he has on the game.”

Warriors football manager Craig Hodges told The Courier-Mail that it will be “a challenge for us keeping Reece”.

“We plan to keep him. I understand home is here [in Queensland] for him, so whether the Broncos or Dolphins are a chance to get him in two or three years’ time, I can’t worry too much about that. But any suggestion he is unhappy here is not true,” he said.

“I’m confident Reece will stay.”

(Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Banned Barnett may join Warriors

The Warriors could be adding suspended Knights forward Mitch Barnett to their ranks while controversial prop Matt Lodge could be heading back to Sydney.

The Daily Telegraph has reported the Knights are willing to release Barnett from the final year of his contract in 2023 to join his former coach Nathan Brown at the Warriors.

Barnett was handed a six-game ban at the NRL judiciary on Tuesday night for his elbow to the jaw of Penrith’s Chris Smith.

Lodge, who joined the Warriors midway through last season after stints at the Wests Tigers and Broncos, has reportedly rejected a contract extension and is eyeing off a potential return to Australia to join a Sydney-based club to be closer to his family.

The 26-year-old front-rower, who was deregistered by the NRL six years ago after he was jailed for assault following an incident in New York City, has a player option to remain at the Warriors in 2023.

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