It could well be the plot of one of Hollywood’s gangster movies. A story of a man’s rise up the ranks, domination at the top and the steep and sudden fall from grace that comes when you become too big for someone else’s liking.
Des Hasler was born into “the family” in the 1980’s and soon became one of Manly’s hardest working foot soldiers. A young man who wasn’t afraid to spill blood for the cause. He quickly became one of Ken Arthurson’s most trusted guys. Your place is safe when the Godfather of Manly has your back.
So it would be for many years. Hasler working under Arthurson in Manly’s ongoing assault on the competition.
By 2004, things had changed at Brookvale and Arthurson was no more. Long retired and would be no more than an old man sitting in the shadows of history.
The competition had changed dramatically by ’04 and the times were quickly passing Manly by.
Max Delmege was now in charge and he knew the Sea Eagles needed someone like Hasler underneath him to run the show on a day-to-day basis. Hasler became the new coach. He was made.
Hasler grabbed the team by the back of the head and dragged it out of the ashes. His work ethic and ability to make others below him better players would soon become his calling card. He made others believe.
The Manly Sea Eagles were back baby and the good times were rolling. You can almost see the montage with Delmege and Hasler swimming in success.
But all the while, a young business savvy man sits on the outer waiting for the right time to attack.
In four short years Manly were back on top, smashing the Melbourne Storm by 40 points in the 2008 Grand Final. With Delmege’s funds and Hasler’s vision, the Sea Eagles had the competition by the short and curlies once again.
But it wouldn’t be long before Delmege was out. A drawn out war between himself and the power hungry Scott Penn quickly became back page news.
The hit was made on Delmege and Penn was top dog. The slow burn between Penn and Hasler began.
Hasler’s old school ways against Penn and his suits and ties and dollar signs. It wasn’t going to end any other way. Penn simply didn’t like the power Hasler had deservedly achieved.
From the outside looking in, the Sea Eagles were flying and topped it off with the 2011 NRL Telstra Premiership. But everyone was on edge inside the group.
Hasler wanted more money and Penn saw this as a chance to get rid of him. To convince other Manly people that Dessy wasn’t Manly at all. That he didn’t really care about his players or the supporters.
So Hasler flipped and made a deal with the boys in blue (and white). Apparently getting others to flip too. Penn made the phone call and gave the approval. Hasler was whacked.
Arthurson, the man who gave Hasler his start, has a broken heart.
“It just disappoints me for someone to do what Des is doing” Arthurson said.
“Probably the most hurtful thing is when I heard he was leaving I put it on him and said I would be disappointed if he was to induce people or players to leave.
“He gave me his assurance he wouldn’t do that. Of course, he’s broken his word. Because of that I am really, really disappointed”.
This article was originally posted on thebigtip.com.au on the 10-11-11