Fined $10,000 for what the NRL deemed excessive criticism of the referees, Manly coach Geoff Toovey has made the startling revelation that he held back during his infamous press conference.

Fronting the media for the first time since the Sea Eagles were issued with a breach notice for his post-match rant last Friday, Toovey called for the NRL to clarify what could be said by coaches.

Toovey bemoaned the lopsided penalty count against his side and the no-try ruling against centre Steve Matai after Manly were over-run by South Sydney in Gosford.

Asked if the fine - which the club has yet to decide whether it will appeal - would cause him to hold back in future, Toovey told reporters:

"I thought I did hold back and that's the disappointing feature.

"I don't think I'm an idiot. I know you've got a responsibility to the game and I felt I did choose my words carefully.

"There has to be a mechanism to protect elements of the game and I'm fully aware of that and support that.

"Exactly where that line is drawn is something that needs to be discussed."

Certainly Toovey's players supported the coach's show of emotion.

"It was refreshing a coach giving opinions on what he really thinks," back-rower Glenn Stewart said.

"It is bias coming from me, I thought it was good. It wasn't the same old answers.

"Tooves is very a passionate man and it was good to see him sticking up for us."

The Sea Eagles have until Friday to make a decision on whether to accept or challenge the five-figure fine.