Barrett on gardening leave as saga takes another bizarre twist

The Trent Barrett saga has taken another bizarre twist after Manly agreed to keep him on the payroll – if he agrees not to return to work.

Barrett was preparing to resume duties next week in the belief that he alone is contractually entitled to be the head coach of the club. That would have created a media circus on Monday when the Sea Eagles’ representative stars return to be confronted by the sight of both Barrett and his replacement, Des Hasler, at Narrabeen headquarters.

In a bid to prevent the farcical scenes, Manly powerbrokers have agreed to keep paying Barrett on the proviso he doesn’t come in to earn his pay cheque. The strange agreement is indefinite, meaning the situation could proceed until he reaches his 12-month notice period, which transpires in July.

Manly issued a statement on Friday which said: "Late this afternoon lawyers for Trent Barrett put forward a
proposal to the Manly club that Trent would refrain from attending work during his notice period
unless the club requires him to do so. The club accepted that suggestion."

Trent Barrett won't be resuming duties at Manly next week.

Trent Barrett won’t be resuming duties at Manly next week.Credit:AAP

The Sea Eagles hierarchy has publicly stated it will not pay out the remainder of Barrett’s contract, believed to be a sum less than $300,000. They have also threatened to re-deploy Barrett into another role, although the coach believes the club would be breaching his contract in trying to do so.

In the end, the parties have struck one of league’s most unusual compromises, resulting in Barrett effectively being sent on gardening leave for the remainder of his term. The Sea Eagles have seemingly made the arrangement in the hope that Barrett finds alternative employment, resulting in him quitting the Manly job. In doing so, the Sea Eagles are entitled to stop paying him and could potentially save themselves a six-figure amount in the process.

However, they also face the prospect of effectively paying out all of Barrett’s contract and him doing nothing in return.

While sympathetic to Barrett’s plight – Hasler himself went through a messy exit from Canterbury – the two-time premiership-winning coach doesn’t want his predecessor’s dramas to interfere with his pre-season.

Some of Manly’s biggest stars remain loyal to Barrett, but also want him to be able to move on and find other employment.

Meanwhile, attempts to push through constitutional reforms at Parramatta failed at an extraordinary general meeting of the leagues club on Thursday night. There were 208 attendees at the meeting at the Novotel Parramatta, with 136 people voting in favour of the proposed changes and 72 against. While 65 per cent of members backed the plan set out by Parramatta Leagues Club administrator Max Donnelly, the motion needed 75 per cent support to pass.

The outcome effectively means Donnelly remains in the job and will likely postpone the next opportunity for members to vote in directors.

At South Sydney, young stars Cameron Murray and Campbell Graham have re-signed until the end of 2021.

“Both Cameron and Campbell have shown they have what it takes to become regular NRL players and also to perform at the highest representative levels of the game in time,” said Rabbitohs general manager of football Shane Richardson

“Cameron is a workhorse and has made an impact on our team from the moment he was selected in first grade.

“His work ethic is second to none, he has the respect of his teammates, coaches and staff, and is a young leader amongst our squad.

“Campbell is still eligible for the under 20s but his efforts in the NRL have seen him earn a spot in our back line over the past 18 months.

“He can play centre and has played wing already at NRL level and we’re all excited to see what he can achieve with more full-time training and more NRL experience under his belt.

“Both of these players represent the future for our club.”

And the Warriors have released forward James Gavet, who will join Newcastle.

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