The writing is on the wall for Matt Ballin but he says he’s going to dig his heels in after being told he’s unwanted at Manly next year.
The veteran hooker on Thursday confirmed he was one of 14 players that has reportedly been told by Sea Eagles management that he was surplus to requirements for the 2016 NRL season.
When asked on Fox Sports if the Sea Eagles had told him he was not wanted, Ballin said: “Yeah it has. I’m fully aware of that.
“I disagree with what their reasons are for it, and I’m going to stand up for what I believe in and what I think is best for the club and myself.
“I decided to stay with the club at the start of the year when things weren’t good, and I wanted to make the club a better place.
“I still hold that same belief and nothing has changed for me.”
It’s a massive about-face for the club after re-signing the two-time premiership-winning No.9 to a two-year contract extension in April.
The words of chief executive Joe Kelly have come back to bite him. At the time of Ballin’s re-signing he expressed his delight that Ballin would end his NRL career as a one-club player.
“He is a truly valued clubman and ambassador. We are thrilled to see him extend, knowing that he will finish his NRL career at the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles,” Kelly said in a club statement.
Having played 213 games for the silvertails, Ballin is considered one of the club’s favourite sons.
But at 31-years-old it seems he has fallen victim to a pending clean out of the club.
Questions were raised about Ballin’s stay at Brookvale when Penrith agreed to release back-up rake Apisai Koroisau from the final year of his deal to link with Manly next season.
Following this week’s long-anticipated sacking of coach Geoff Toovey, chairman Scott Penn ignited speculation a player cleanout was on the cards, indicating there would be further changes at Brookvale ahead of the 2016 season when new mentor Trent Barrett arrives.
Last week Manly guaranteed the future of captain Jamie Lyon, but stopped short of offering the same commitment to other players reportedly set to be dumped in the summer, including Luke Burgess, Feleti Mateo, Willie Mason and Justin Horo.