Manly's boardroom dramas have again flared on the eve of the finals after Peter Peters applied for an AVO against fellow board member Darrell Williams.
The former Sea Eagles players appeared before magistrate William Brydon at North Sydney local court on Wednesday. Magistrate Brydon made an interim Apprehended Personal Violence Order against Williams, who made no admissions. The matter is listed for mention at the same court on October 16. However, the pair are likely to come face to face several times before then, either during Manly's finals campaign or at the next scheduled board meeting, on September 26.
Peters, the club's former media manager, claims he was threatened at a match at Gosford earlier this year and that there have been other instances where he felt threatened. Williams strongly denied the allegations and claimed that he was the victim of bullying. He also claimed Peters' actions were a direct response to his racial vilification claim against another director, Rick Penn.
''In his grounds for application he claims harassment and intimidation started in September last year. If that's the case, why wouldn't he have sought orders back then? This is convenient,'' Williams said. ''We argued in our last football club meeting and beat him pretty resoundingly and this is just tit-for-tat stuff.
''The football team don't need to be reading negative press and we don't need to making undertakings for no negative stories to come out. So the timing stinks, it's certainly disappointing because of the impact it could have on the club, especially during the finals.''
Peters said that it was a ''big step'' to take out the AVO against Williams. ''The fact that I have taken out an AVO, is a big step and it's unfortunate that it happened but I have been in a situation where I have been forced into it. It's been going on for over a year.
''At a recent game against Melbourne he verbally abused me in front of other directors and in front of an official from the NRL. I immediately contacted my legal representative from the ground and triggered the AVO. I have taken out an interim AVO to protect myself.
''I did make a statement earlier this year in accordance with this issue that I didn't want it to get it into the public arena for the betterment of the team.
''The safety of myself is paramount at the moment. I don't think it will affect the team going forward. They wouldn't be concerned with two old players having a dispute. I owe it to myself and my family to do what I had to do. They (the players) didn't object. Hopefully when I get my day in court he will have learnt a lesson that you can't bully people.'' The fresh boardroom drama couldn't have come at a worse time for the Sea Eagles, who are preparing to take on the minor premiers, the Sydney Roosters, at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night. The latest spat continues a long history of fighting between directors in a bitter battle of control for the club.
Fairfax Media revealed in June that Williams claimed he was the victim of racial abuse during a Manly board meeting. The former New Zealand international complained to NRL chief executive Dave Smith that he was referred to by the racially derogatory term ''boy'' by fellow director Penn during a board meeting on April 4. Penn denied the allegations and the matter remains unresolved.
Williams said the court ruling wouldn't prevent him from fronting the next board meeting.
''It's our legal advice that both parties can still attend,'' Williams said. The Penn faction, to which Peters is aligned, has indicated it is willing to sell its stake in the club. A proposal is being put together to buy the 49.5 per cent share. Williams claimed the AVO action and the potential sellout are ''interrelated''.