Former Manly bad boy John Hopoate, who is no stranger to controversy, responded on Instagram with a threatening post, which has since been deleted.
Manly giant Martin Taupau was thoughtful but strong, saying it was “understandable for our non-Pasifika community [to have difficulty] attempting to properly announce our names’’, but ‘‘to disrespect and make a mockery of former/current Pasifika players in the NRL like how you carried on is DISGRACEFUL!’’
Radio station 2GB is owned by Nine Entertainment, the owners of the Sydney Morning Herald.
It was incorrectly reported that Molan had dismissed her comment as an inside joke among panellists.
“An inside joke? Show some respect!” Cronulla forward Braden Hamlin-Uele responded.
Players throughout the game “liked” the post and added their own views. It went on and on.
Members of the broader public then chimed in and posts included a host of threats to Molan and her young child, to the point where she feared for their safety.
However, Aloiai backed the TV presenter over his fellow players in a move almost unheard of in the game, even going against the sentiments expressed by teammate Joey Leilua.
“I’m not afraid of the backlash from Marty or Addin or any of the Pacific Island players who attacked Erin,” Aloiai said. “They need to do their research and not act off bad and irresponsible reporting from the Daily Mail before they attack someone’s character.
‘I’m following my convictions. I stand with Erin. She should not feel afraid to leave the house because of threats. She should not have to hide away at home with her daughter.’
‘‘I’m going to be very blunt: I’m angry and disappointed with what has been said about Erin in the Pacific Island community and she is owed an apology from everyone who has attacked her. It is disgusting and horrible what happened to Erin.”
Aloiai contacted his club looking for a way to make amends for the Pacific Islander community. Molan asked him not to go public in case he was targeted by those who trolled her. To be clear, the club put me in touch with Aloiai so he could express his disgust at what happened. I didn’t seek him out.
“I’m not being brave,” he said. “I’m following my convictions. I stand with Erin. She should not feel afraid to leave the house because of threats. She should not have to hide away at home with her daughter. She should not have to look over her shoulder. She does so much for the Pacific Island community, for its players. Things she does not seek credit or exposure for. Racist and Erin is not something that should be talked about [in the same sentence].
‘‘Will people now say I am a racist because I’m defending her against some terrible reporting and horribly uninformed comment. I’ve played for Samoa. I’m half-Samoan and half-European. I want to play for New Zealand this year.
‘‘Do I know what racism looks like? Well, I know it doesn’t look like Erin Molan. When I told her I wanted to do an interview she didn’t want me to speak out because she was concerned for me. That’s the type of person she is.
‘‘I want my opinion and my voice to be heard. I think we are very lucky to live in unison in Australia. I honestly believe we have it good in this country. I love it here and will probably live my whole life here. And I would not be comfortable if I didn’t speak out when there was an injustice done against a good person. She deserves support and she deserves an apology from anyone who has treated her terribly.”
Pay the price
It certainly was a tough week for Dean Pay. He was planning a getaway to Darwin to visit family and take his wife away from the stress she has endured as he parted ways with Canterbury. However, Pay lives in Sydney’s south-west and the Northern Territory government put an end to the planned escape with its new travel restrictions.
Not easy being Green
The noise is growing around Cowboys coach Paul Green, despite two grand finals in five years and a maiden premiership. I keep hearing there is an issue between Green and skipper Michael Morgan.
We are told there was tension last year but it has been resolved, and that there is no truth to any thought that Morgan is reluctant to hurry back from injury and play.
Change of scenery
The NRL plans to move the Warriors to a new location in coming weeks. It’s not because the team doesn’t like its current Central Coast base, it just wants to keep the players fresh in the final weeks of the campaign.
‘Manly is like a training school for priests compared to the Dogs’
There are signs that Trent Barrett has matured as a man and a coach, but he is bound to run into trouble again without a senior advisor helping him through the barbwire and verbal bullets that will come his way at rugby league’s most troubled club, Canterbury.
Those who know the inner workings at the Bulldogs say only Phil Gould, Wayne Bennett, Tim Sheens or Craig Bellamy could handle the snake pit.
Barrett has matured, but he still has a way to go. The main sign that Barrett has realised his past errors is his apology to one-time best mate Willie Peters over the circumstances leading to Peters’ departure from the Sea Eagles. But more on that shortly.
Barrett needed to take a serious look at himself after a horrendous end to his time at Manly. But the idea of him coaching at the Bulldogs without a senior figure riding shotgun is fraught with danger.
One of the few people who will put his name to a quote on Barrett is the man who was doing Manly’s media at the time, legendary figure Peter Peters. He was there for Barrett’s reign on the northern beaches and chose his words carefully.
“Trent Barrett is hard working and enthusiastic, but he needs an experienced campaigner on his shoulder,” Peters said. “He had an Immortal [Bob Fulton] and didn’t use him at the end and he won’t make that mistake again.
“He needs to let the front office do its job and keep his nose out of politics. He will be in for a shock if he goes to the Bulldogs – they have infighting amongst brothers and close family members. Manly is like a training school for priests compared to the Dogs.”
One of the main areas of concern among the people charged with interviewing Barrett for the Bulldogs job was his time at Manly. Apparently the Dogs were more than satisfied with the answers.
What has sat badly with people in the game was the situation involving Willie Peters at Manly. Peters had a difficult 2017 season and it ended in a punch-up outside a Rocks hotel. Without going through the whole saga again, it is best summed up this way.
Barrett is old-school when it comes to having a drink and loved getting his coaching and training staff together several times a week. The Harbord Beach Hotel near his former home was his favourite watering hole. This culture bubbled over at the end-of-season coaching drinks when Peters reacted to a season of antagonism and lashed out at trainer Dan Ferris. The issues with Peters and Ferris were evident all season, but allowed to fester in front of Barrett. And when it exploded, Barrett didn’t stand by his mate Peters.
The good news is they are back on reasonable terms.
Barrett had well-documented problems with Blake Green and Jackson Hastings at Manly and his time there came to an ugly end. In a terrible exit interview with News Corp, Barrett said broken promises were a reason he wanted out of his first NRL full-time job. He whinged about having to buy plastic chairs for the players and staff, and below-average facilities. Des Hasler made a mockery of those arguments, turning the team around last year.
Barrett has again underlined his coaching ability at Penrith – transforming their attack – but as he now knows, coaching is about a lot more than attack and defence.
Danny Weidler is a sport columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald.