I never lost sleep over snub
No regrets as DCE prepares to tackle Titans
SIX years after reneging on the Gold Coast, Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans will face the resurgent Titans on Saturday knowing he has come a long way with his public perception following the infamous backflip, even though he concedes not everyone will like him.
After his last-second field goal heroics against the Warriors, Cherry-Evans confronts the Titans, the team he turned his back on in 2015 when he agreed to a four-year deal before opting to stay at the Sea Eagles on a lifetime eight-year contract.
The decision to knock back the Gold Coast prompted heavy criticism about his integrity and reputation, but he has worked hard to change how people view him.
Cherry-Evans regularly appears in the media to showcase his likeable personality, while his successful rise as Queensland Origin skipper has also shone a positive light on him as a person.
“It has been a massive turnaround when I look back at my career and I guess the perception that I’ve had cast over me,” Cherry Evans said.
“It started nicely, went a bit sour and then suddenly more often than not, people know who I am.
“Not everyone has to like me, I don’t intend on that being the case, but people know who I am and what I stand for.
“They know a lot more about me and all that other stuff has just gone away.”
But there is one thing that Cherry-Evans won’t cop – criticism like he received from former premiershipwinning Cronulla hooker Michael Ennis.
Ennis hit out at the Manly captain on Fox League following his team’s winless start to the season, claiming the club should part ways with their star playmaker because he isn’t producing enough to warrant his $1m pay packet.
Cherry-Evans revealed the condemnation motivated him to prove a point and revive the Sea Eagles’ season with his matchwinning field goal against the Warriors, even if he rarely listens to outside noise.
“But you know it’s there,” he said.
“I never take it too personally when people talk about my footy because how I play is always going to be subjective.
“Not everyone is going to like how I play. Even when I play well, some people don’t like how I play.
“It’s only ever the time when your character gets tested. They are the ones where you go,
‘you know what, I’ve got to do something about this’.
“People close to me that always want to help and support me said it is not even about your footy anymore, people are just questioning you. When it becomes personal, that is when it does become motivation.
“Certainly, last Friday night, I took it personally and wanted to just make sure that if anyone is doubting me within this club, then I need to show them that I’m committed to this club.”
On Saturday, CherryEvans takes on a Gold Coast side that has rebuilt into a premiership force.
The Titans are surging upwards in seventh position while the Sea Eagles are struggling in second last.
“People will always look at it (the Gold Coast renege), but I don’t think they ever look at it with my shoes on,” Cherry
Evans said. “I’ve maintained through the whole thing that I never lost sleep over it because the sole purpose of those decisions were to benefit myself and my family, not to benefit anyone else.
“But it is great to see the Titans are really charging forward, and they’ve obviously recruited really well.”
As Maroons captain, Cherry-Evans is happy to see the Gold Coast sign Origin teammates Tino Fa’asuamaleaui and David Fifita despite facing the mammoth task of trying to stop them in Mudgee this weekend.
“David and Tino are great and could potentially be some really strong players for Queensland over the next 10 years,” he said.
“I’ve played with them both, so I know first-hand how damaging they are.
“But also going up against them this weekend, I know that I’m going to need help because doing one-on-one (tackles) will be difficult.”