Manly forward Martin Taupau has opened up on how close he came to joining the Eels’ grand final surge this season.
Taupau looked set to make the switch to the Eels before the August 1 deadline but had his request to join Parramatta denied twice by Manly coach Des Hasler.
He instead remained with the Sea Eagles until the end of the season and is now a free agent.
Speaking to The Sun-Herald, Taupau opened up for the first time about his frustrations over the missed opportunity.
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“It’s always the what-if, but it is sad because it could have been a possibility I was playing tomorrow night,” Taupau said.
“It was only a reality for a small amount of time, but that window of opportunity was closed by Manly.
“I could have asked for a release via text message or phone call, but that’s not who I am. I went on two occasions to ask Des for a release. Unfortunately, it wasn’t granted.
“Des had his reasons. Obviously you get frustrated when people don’t meet you where you’re at with your journey.
“It was more frustrating with how it unravelled. I went to ask the club around the same time there was the rainbow jersey [issue], then I had a family member die suddenly and I had to go to Melbourne [for the funeral].
“But Des and I are big believers in things happening for a reason. In my mind I was ready for anything. Parramatta were due to play against Manly, and I was prepared to wear the blue and gold jersey. It’s my job.”
Taupau has been linked to several clubs including the South Sydney Rabbitohs. The Bunnies are understood to see him as a replacement for Mark Nicholls who is off to link up with Wayne Bennett at the Dolphins.