Toovey sacked, with Barrett to take over as Sea Eagles coach next year

Taking over: Country coach Trent Barrett. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Taking over: Country coach Trent Barrett. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Manly have sacked coach Geoff Toovey with a year to run on his contract, with Trent Barrett to take over at the NRL club next season.

After months of speculation the Sea Eagles confirmed on Tuesday that Toovey would not be with the club in 2016.

The Manly legend will see out the rest of the season at Brookvale, with the club saying he will be paid out in full for the final year of his contract.

Toovey wasn’t quoted in the club media release confirming the move, with club chief executive Joe Kelly thanking the club legend for his four seasons at the helm.

‘‘Geoff has been an influential figure within the Sea Eagles organisation for almost three decades. His contribution on and off the field is unprecedented, and he will always be one of the club’s favourite sons,’’ Kelly said.

‘‘Geoff and the club remain firmly committed to finishing this season off on the highest possible note.’’

Chairman Scott Penn indicated the sacking of Toovey would be just a number of changes at Brookvale ahead of the 2016 NRL season, amid reports 14 players will be shown the door at the end of the year.

‘‘This has been an intense and thorough process to ensure the long term future and ongoing success of the club,’’ Penn said.

‘‘Significant changes will be occurring. These changes won’t take away from the success the club has enjoyed, but will help reinforce the foundation for a successful future. We are excited about 2016 and beyond.’’

Toovey has taken Manly to a preliminary final, a grand final and a semi-final since taking over from Des Hasler in 2012.

Former NRL playmaker Barrett has no head coaching experience but has worked as an assistant to Ivan Cleary at Penrith and headed up NSW Country since 2012.

Manly did not hold a press conference to announce the news, but Toovey and a number of senior players will speak to the media on Wednesday.

The Sea Eagles need to win six of their remaining seven games this season to qualify for the final series.

They host Brisbane at Central Coast Stadium on Saturday night.

It comes a day after Newcastle sacked Rick Stone, less than a year after he returned to the hot seat replacing Wayne Bennett.

Rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns delivered a stinging verdict on struggling Newcastle, saying his former NRL club have lost their entire identity.

After sacking coach Rick Stone on Monday, chief executive Matt Gidley warned the under-performing playing group that the bloodletting would not stop there.

Johns, a former Knights captain and two-time premiership-winning player, said management needs to ‘‘clean the place out’’.

‘‘They need someone with a massive big whip to get in there and crack it,’’ he told The Triple M Rush Hour.

‘‘The whole place needs to start again. They’ve lost their whole identity.’’

The Knights’ 2016 squad is already shaping as vastly different to this year’s group with skipper Kurt Gidley to retire, Beau Scott on his way to Parramatta and NSW halfback Trent Hodkinson set to join from Canterbury.

None of the senior playing group is off-contract at the end of 2015 and Gidley hinted some players could be moved on, warning they had six rounds to prove they wanted to be at the club.

Despite the presence of Johns’ former Newcastle teammates in Gidley and Danny Buderus, who will replace Stone for the rest of the season, the 41-year-old said the side’s appalling season ran deeper than a recent slip in form.

‘‘I don’t know, but they’ve lost the way they play,’’ Johns said.

‘‘They’ve lost the culture within the place. I don’t think they know what they stand for.

‘‘And I’ve always liked (former coach) Brian Smith, but when he came in and did the cleanout then (in 2007), has that set a rot that the club hasn’t recovered from?

‘‘He’d done the dirty work, and he needed to do that. He was hammered privately and publicly but he did what he had to do.’’

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