Rugby league legend Benny Elias has urged the NRL to introduce a pride round in 2023 —but had a grave warning for the Sea Eagles following the club’s jersey controversy.
Seven players stood themselves down prior to Manly’s 20-10 loss against the Roosters, with Des Hasler’s side donning the rainbow-trimmed jersey representing the LGBTQIA community.
Elias explained that last night’s scenes were a “great joy” for the marginalised group, sending a strong message of support to those a part of it.
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“Last night, it was a great joy for the people following the game of rugby league, and you know, it has brought a very, very strong message out there into the community,” Elias said to WWOS.
Manly’s Round 20 loss has done nothing to help the club’s finals chances, as Des Hasler desperately attempts to slot his side into the top eight.
And now, Elias believes the “ripple effect” of that loss will be felt for the remainder of the season.
“They only got just beat by 10 points – it was a game they needed to win,” Elias said.
“I just think now, I think Manly will suffer drastically for the rest of the season. I don’t think they’ll make the top eight.
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“I think the ripple effect of what those seven players did last night will be a long-term effect for the club itself.”
Elias also references the group’s religious grounds for standing down, explaining Manly needed them direly on Thursday night.
“Christianity is about pulling together, and doing the right thing, and it’s about believing in each other and loving each other,” he said.
“Last night the Manly boys needed those seven players to play one of their most vital games and they weren’t there, and now they’re saying they’re going to be there next year.
“Well, to me, that’s very hypocritical so you’re either in or you’re out.”
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