NRL: Toovey wishes he could heckle Hasler

Sea Eagles coach Geoff Toovey. Photo / Getty Images
Sea Eagles coach Geoff Toovey. Photo / Getty Images

Manly NRL coach Geoff Toovey says part of him wishes he could sit on the Brookvale Oval hill and heckle Des Hasler on Friday night when the Sea Eagles host Canterbury.

Former Manly coach and club champion Hasler is bracing himself for a backlash from the Sea Eagles faithful when he makes his long-awaited return to Brookvale as coach of the high-flying Bulldogs.

However, Toovey believes Manly fans will still respect Hasler, who won two premierships during his time as coach, despite the verbal barrage they're likely to give him.

Toovey admits he wouldn't mind getting in on the action.

"I'm sure there will be some heckling but that's just rugby league - that's why it's so good. I'd love to be a fan sometimes on the hill and join in on it," Toovey said on Wednesday.

"I think the fans will treat Des with a lot of respect. He's done a wonderful job at Manly here over the last few years and he's doing a great job at Canterbury so there's no dramas there.

"I'm not smart enough (to come up with sledges) but some of the fans have got plenty of good stuff worked out."

Toovey scoffed at claims made by Hasler on Tuesday that Manly were the benchmarks of the NRL.

Canterbury are joint leaders with Melbourne, while the Sea Eagles are in a precarious position in seventh.

During his time at Manly, Hasler would often say the Sea Eagles were flying under the radar when they were in fact leading the competition - and as his assistant, Toovey admits he used to laugh.

Toovey insists the Sea Eagles won't be distracted by the mind games.

"Des is a good throw off in regards to benchmarks but they're on top of the comp and playing some really consistent football all year and we need to match that consistency on Friday if we're any chance of winning," said Toovey.

"I think the people in the inner circles know what (Hasler's mind games) are all about and those general football fans know what it's all about as well.

"But in saying that, that's what creates the atmosphere and the fans love it and it's all part of the colourful tapestry of rugby league."

Toovey said Brett Stewart was no chance of a late recall for Friday, while Glenn Stewart is yet to train with the team despite being named.

- AAP

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