Manly release promising forward Willis Meehan to take up boxing career

By David Riccio of The Daily Telegraph

Willis Meehan. Photo / Getty Images
Willis Meehan. Photo / Getty Images

Three years ago, Willis Meehan was considered the NRL's brightest young star and described as the next Sonny Bill Williams.

Now the 21-year-old's NRL career is almost certainly over after the Manly Sea Eagles decided to release him from his two-year contract agreement.

The hugely talented yet troubled Meehan has chosen to return to the sport of boxing, where he once pursued a Commonwealth Games berth.

Despite previously being named alongside the likes of Valentine Holmes, Sione Mata'utia, Tepai Moeroa, ­Joseph Tapine and Kane Elgey in the 2014 National Youth Competition team of the year, Meehan's footballing talents it seems will remain forever ­untapped.

On his second chance after being sacked by the Sydney Roosters in 2015, Meehan attempted to resurrect his rugby league career via a lifeline from Manly, featuring in several NSW Cup matches last season.

However, Meehan's management has been in dialogue for several weeks with Manly officials about the young star's intent and focus on rugby league, which was split with his desire to continue boxing.

Despite investing the entire off-season into the talented prop, Manly advised Meehan they would support whichever decision he made.

"It was decided it was in the best interest of all concerned that Willis made a commitment to one sport," Sea Eagles football operations manager Gareth Holmes said.

"With the time needed in an NRL full-time squad, Willis chose to go in a different direction and we wish him well in his endeavours."

Meehan wasn't the only loss for the Sea Eagles on Tuesday. Coach Trent Barrett will have to call upon his depth in the backline in the pre-season fixtures after winger Matt Wright broke his hand at training.

Wright was due to play in the Auckland Nines next weekend but was ruled out after breaking a bone in his left hand during a contact session at Narrabeen.

Barrett said Wright had been one of the club's best performers during the pre-season.

"Unfortunately, there are plenty of collisions in training these days and Matthew was a victim of this," Barrett said.

"The good news is that he will be fit for the start of the premiership against Parra­matta at Brookvale Oval (on March 5)."

Barrett will name a replacement for his Auckland Nines squad in the coming days.

- news.com.au

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