In what has been a dismal season for the Manly Sea Eagles, Daly Cherry-Evans' decision to pull-out of a move to Gold Coast in order to sign a "lifetime contract" to stay in Sydney could well rank as the highlight of the campaign. After agreeing to a lucrativefour-year deal with the Titansin March, the halfback was clearly having doubts about his potential return to his home state Queensland in recent weeks. That said, it came as a shock when the Australian international reneged on the deal in order to stay at the club he first signed for in 2011, and Cherry-Evans has now handed the Sea Eagles a huge boost by committing his long-term future to Manly.
by Liam Mendes
The reported deal worth more than $1 million a season to stay with the Sea Eagles may have made the decision to pull out of the move to the Gold Coast a little easier, and Manly fans will feel as though there is light at the end of the tunnel now, as arguably their best player has opted against jumping ship. Initially expected to run for six years, the 26-year-old knows there is an option to extend the contract at a later date, effectively keeping the halfback with the Sea Eagles for the rest of his career. The five-season professional has been instrumental to Manly's success between 2011 and 2014, includingwinning the Grand Finalin his first season at the club, and there will be a real belief that Cherry-Evans' presence will give the club a great chance to bounce back next year.
The knives will be out for the 26-year-old at every away ground he plays at for the foreseeable future, but the 2014 Dally M Halfback of the Year has shown throughout his career that he has all the tools to handle the pressure he will be under. While it's now highly-unlikely the Sea Eagles will be able to salvage anything out of this season, even for those who like to back a long shot when they gamble, it isn't impossible that Manly could put together a winning run that might make things interesting in and around the upper reaches of the ladder.
The Titans, meanwhile, find themselves looking at a side that currently won't have a first-team halfback. Following the agreement to sign Cherry-Evans, Gold Coast allowed Aidan Sezer to come to terms with Canberra for next season. With the Sea Eagles star pulling the old switcheroo on that deal, the Titans face a real task to try and fill one of the most important positions in a team. It remains to be seen what move they will now make in order to replace their replacement. But Manly fans won't be concerned by what Gold Coast do now, knowing they are going to be watching their hero in a Sea Eagles jersey for a long time yet. Despite admitting he feels bad for leaving the Titans in the lurch, Cherry-Evans will need to focus on silencing his critics with his performances on the field.