Why Des Hasler is Manly’s MVP
Dylan Walker believes coach Des Hasler is more important to Manly than anyone else at the NRL club, including star Tom Trbojevic.
And it's why Walker wants to re-sign beyond the expiration of his deal this year.
Walker has been limited to just six games this year after being stood down while facing domestic violence charges which he was later acquitted of. "It's been okay, I wouldn't say it's been spectacular," Walker said when asked about his form since his return to the game.
"There (have) been games where I've been shattered and down on myself. But I'm still trying to find that 80-minute performance where I know I can get to." The fifth-placed Sea Eagles will be out to cement their spot in the top eight when they host sixth-placed Parramatta on Sunday afternoon.
And while Manly are focused on the finals race, Walker also has one eye on a long-term future under a two-time premiership-winning coach in Hasler. Walker's comments come as the club prepares to table multimillion-dollar contracts for brothers Tom and Jake Trbojevic.
"Dessie's the right coach to bring the best out of anyone, really," Walker said. "He's good. He has those hard conversations with no matter who, he expects the best from you each and every week.
"He's been here and done that at this club. He brings a lot of experience and brings a lot of winning culture.
"Dessie's just as important to this club, more than you could probably say Tommy Turbo, to be honest."
Walker has endured four tumultuous years on the northern beaches, where he arrived on what is believed to be a roughly $3.2-million deal from South Sydney. In his first season at Manly, he missed a month of football and was fined $10,000 by the club after busting his hand punching his apartment door.
He has also broken his leg playing for the Prime Minister's XIII, and fractured his eye socket in an infamous fist fight with Melbourne centre Curtis Scott last year.
But now, after putting his off-field dramas behind him this year, Walker is intent on helping the Sea Eagles return to the finals.
"I've been here for the last three years and we've made the finals once and got knocked out in the first round. That drives me the most," he said. "Manly's such a rich club (with a) history of playing finals football. And that's me coming from Souths - we always played them in the prelims." But with the Trbojevic brothers still to sign, it is likely Walker would have to take a significant pay cut to remain on the northern beaches.