Daly Cherry-Evans has been slammed by NRL 360 host Paul Kent after the Sea Eagles skipper blasted agitators within the club.
Manly’s horror end to the season has been well-documented as the Sea Eagles lost their last seven games to plummet out of finals contention.
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It’s been a horrific end to the season for Manly, who were still in finals contention in round 20 when the season imploded on the back of the club’s Pride jersey debacle.
The drama saw seven players withdraw from the match and reportedly create factions in the sheds as the Sea Eagles lost their last seven games to finish the season in 11th, likely five wins out of finals contention.
Although the club also had injuries to key players including star fullback and reigning Dally M Medallist Tom Trbojevic, the jersey drama was clearly the turning point as the club fell sharply away at the end of the season.
But since the season wound down it’s been much worse for the club with reports of unrest in the playing group, division between DCE and the Trbojevic brothers and that coach Des Hasler could be sacked.
Cherry-Evans has denied any dramas but speaking ahead of the Prime Minister’s XIII match against Papua New Guinea, the Manly skipper took aim at the agitators within the club.
“I’d be lying to say it (joining another club) didn’t cross my mind,” Cherry-Evans said.
“People just wanted to cause uncertainty.
“I know that sounds ridiculous … how could people at one club want to rip the place apart but unfortunately that is the situation we have at Manly.
“Those things I can’t control.
“After these things come out … once you have the conversations with people within the club and how unrealistic these comments were, I feel really comfortable about where I stand.
“It just reassured me that what I am doing at this club is the right thing.
“The love I have for the place hasn’t changed. I am going to continue to try and get Manly back to finals next year and finish my career there.”
Cherry-Evans said he thought it was “pretty funny” there were reports he didn’t get on with his Polynesian teammates amid the Pride jersey saga.
Cherry-Evans has played every one of his 283-match career at Manly and led the Maroons to a State of Origin win this season.
He also laughed off the agendas being driven by certain factions around the club.
“Two months ago I was the best captain in Australia. Now I can’t lead Manly. It is pretty funny isn’t it?” Cherry-Evans said.
“That is part of the rugby league stuff that comes around in circles all the time.
“But the people that hold the power at the club have backed me as skipper. I take a lot of confidence in that.
“It was nice to hear (Tom and Jake Trbojevic) come out and say, ‘You are our skipper’.”
However, Fox League’s NRL 360 host Paul Kent took aim at Cherry-Evans’ comments.
“Come on, this is the captain of the club,” Kent said.
“He started that interview by saying, people want to cause uncertainty at this club. And he ended it by saying ‘I’d be lying if I said leaving didn’t cross my mind’.
“That is uncertainty. The captain is saying it crossed his mind to leave the club, given what is happening within the club.
“To me he is answering the questions without actually thinking about the questions.
“He is answering the questions without actually giving any truth to what is going on at Manly.
“He went for the answer that is the least offensive in every instance.
“You cannot sit there and say, people want to cause uncertainty. Well who are these mystery people. When he is uncertain himself. He didn’t know whether he wanted to stay or go. He is the captain of the club.”
Daily Telegraph reporter Phil Rothfield said crisis talks between coach Des Hasler and owner Scott Penn hadn’t cleared up the drama.
“The club is as messy if not messier as it was two weeks ago when Scott Penn was here before he got on a plane back to New York,” Rothfield said.
“He left with a bit of certainty that Des will be there next year. There is none now. It is remarkable.”
But The Australian’s Brent Read said he was not sure Hasler would be at the club in 2023.