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Former Kiwis coach Graham Lowe is being targeted as a possible replacement for Manly coach Peter Sharp as the struggling National Rugby League (NRL) undergoes a managerial shake-up.
Club stalwart and chairman Paul Vautin announced he would stand down at the end of the year, paving the way for the Manly leagues club to take over running the club.
Vautin released a statement yesterday saying the leagues club ? headed by former Manly and Australian Rugby League supremo Keith Arthurson ? would provide $A3 million ($NZ3.47 million) over the next three years to run the franchise.
Arthurson has admiration for Lowe, a former coach at Manly, although the New Zealander has been plagued by health problems and has not coached in the NRL since a stint with North Queensland in 1996.
Lowe put his hand up for the South Sydney job when Craig Coleman was dumped in March but could not be contacted today about a potential return to Brookvale Oval.
If Lowe is recruited the old gang could be back together, with another former coach Bob Fulton touted as a potential recruitment officer.
With Arthurson as the new head figure, Sharp's position is under threat and Fulton, one of Arthurson's closest friends and confidants, will again have a huge influence at the club.
Vautin held a crisis meeting yesterday with chief executive officer Ian Thomson and board member Joe Cross to get his thoughts clear about the matter and released a statement announcing his resignation.
It is known he has had enough of sniping from members of the News Ltd organisation and constant criticism from radio station 2GB ? where Fulton is a panel member ? and figured staying in the job was not worth the drama.
Asked if the leagues club specifically wanted his head before the takeover could proceed, Vautin today told the Sun Herald newspaper: "I believe so and I've been told so. There had to be a martyr in all this and it had to be me. " Arthurson admitted Vautin had made "too many enemies to move forward."
He was reluctant to speculate on the coaching regime for next season.
"No decision has been made and Peter has not done a bad job really.
"I do think Graham Lowe has a lot to offer as a coach and I have a lot of time for him having worked with him. He has real coaching ability ? I know that for a fact."
When touting for the Souths job, Lowe said he had no fears about returning to the stresses of coaching in the NRL despite a catalogue of heart attacks, a stroke and a brain haemorrhage during the 1990s.
"It's nothing to be scared of. I feel the best I've ever felt. I row 40-50km a week on a machine and cycle three times that."