DALY Cherry-Evans left Suncorp Stadium beaming after Manly last night belted Brisbane to end five weeks of hell.
“I think we are allowed to smile now,’’ Cherry-Evans said.
“It has been a tough five weeks but we are out of it. We got a win’’.
Salary cap scandals, infighting and on-field floggings were forgotten as the Sea Eagles turned Brisbane into Brookvale by beating the Broncos to save their season.
In their best performance of the year, Manly scored six tries to four to end a five-match losing streak marred by a series of scandals.
Cherry-Evans declared the Sea Eagles’ horror story over after Jake Trbojevic and Joel Thompson bagged doubles in the shock Suncrop Stadium victory.
“I think we are just excited to get our season back on track,’’ Cherry-Evans said. “It has been tough but that is footy.’’
The Sea Eagles’ season of controversy began in March when the club was fined $750,000 for a series of salary cap breaches. The drama continued when several players were fined for attending a strip club.
Infighting then threatened the club with Cherry-Evans reprimanded for an altercation with unwanted teammate Jackson Hastings.
“We just have to stick together,’’ said Cherry-Evans.
“There has been a lot written about us and a lot of it was very far from the truth, too.
“We just stuck together, trained hard and we got the reward for it tonight.
“We knew it was just a matter of time and tonight was that night. We had a good feeling about the game and we trained really hard. And here we are now. We’re back on track and it is really exciting.’’
Bolting to an 18-14 lead at the break after Jake Trbojevic scored his double and Thompson went in for his first, Cherry-Evans was instrumental in setting up the upset.
The halfback booted seven goals and was a menace to the Broncos in the middle. Apisai Koroisau was another star performer for the Sea Eagles, with the hooker scoring a solo try in the 46th minute.
“Obviously it has been a really tough five weeks for the boys,’’ Koroisau said. “To get that win tonight really means a lot to us. “
After sacrificing their home ground advantage for cash by moving the game to Brisbane, Trbojevic crashed over for his first try in the second minute and continued his stormer by scoring his second in the 35th after a pass from brother Tom.
“I feel really good,’’ Trbojevic said. “The last five weeks have been really tough. To come up here and put in a performance like that is really pleasing. And I think it is really well deserved because we have been working real hard.”
But coach Trent Barrett was easily Manly’s happiest man.
“Words can’t describe how relieved we are and how happy I am for the players and for the footy club in general, for our fans, we needed that more than ever,” he said.
“We’ve got a lot of young blokes in there, hopefully they never have to go through the month we’ve had again.”
Manly players embrace hooker Apisai Koroisau after his try and (inset) Dylan Walker flicks the ball when tackled by Alex Glenn. Picture: AAP