Barrett peace deal close as memberships spike
AMID fears of a drawn-out court case, Manly and Trent Barrett are now close to resolving their ugly six-month imbroglio - and it could happen as early as Friday.
The development comes as Manly enjoy a 15 per cent spike in memberships compared to the same time last year based on coach Des Hasler's arrival.
Sea Eagles co-owner Scott Penn had been highly reluctant to pay out Barrett, who offered his 12 months notice in July.
It would appear, though, that a deal has now been struck after the board met on Wednesday to finalise a settlement agreement.
More details are likely to emerge over the next 24 hours.
Barrett is yet to return to Manly's Narrabeen headquarters since his end-of-season holiday finished.
The two parties have been exchanging legal letters constantly over the past week to try and resolve the matter.
Barrett's short era at Brookvale is now over. How successful that was depends on who you listen to around Manly.
Hasler was becoming increasingly frustrated at the possibility Barrett would remain at club in some capacity.
The payout amount of Barrett remains unknown but could be around $300,000. It's understood he has been paid out the remainder of his notice period, which ends in July 2019.
Meanwhile, Manly have 7012 members as of Friday - a sharp increase on this time last year.
More than 300 fans renewed memberships within a few hours of Hasler's announcement. And the renewals have just kept coming.
One official said: "The phones have been going crazy."
There have been increases in young fans and those aged 18 to 29.
Officials claim members and fans are responding to having another coach with Manly DNA.
Hasler has made a strong point of wanting the club to engage with fans and the local community.
Manly players will return to training from their mandatory break on Monday.
There was speculation on Thursday that Sea Eagles centre Brian Kelly could seek a release. He has been linked to Wests Tigers but is likely to sign with his former club the Gold Coast.
Manly hadn't officially released Kelly as of Thursday night but there was a feeling the club wouldn't prevent him from leaving.
The Sea Eagles have a ready-made replacement should Kelly leave in rising star Tevita Funa.
Former Roosters and Newcastle player Brendan Elliot has also joined the Sea Eagles.
Manly's odds for next year's title have tightened since Hasler's announcement.
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