Daly Cherry-Evans knows what a successful season in the Queensland Cup can do for him. All he has to do is look at fellow Manly halfback Trent Hodkinson.
Cherry-Evans to call the shots for Sunshine Coast in Qld Cup.
Hodkinson was a stand-out for the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles in their premiership-winning season last year and is now in line to replace departed Manly halfback Matt Orford.
Cherry-Evans will make his debut in Sunshine Coast colours tomorrow night against Ipswich and the 21-year-old Mackay product says he has a point to prove.
“I’m looking to make a mark on the competition and sort of prove to myself and everyone else I can handle it with the big boys,” he said yesterday.
“It will be a new atmposhere and new comp so I’m pretty excited about it.”
Cherry-Evans guided Manly’s under-20 side around the park in its first two National Youth Competition seasons.
He was named in the 2009 Toyota Cup team of the year and helped his team to the minor premiership.
But it’s now time for him to match it in Queensland’s premier competition, which is considered the most physical league in the country besides the NRL.
“That’s sort of the new challenge for me. Playing against men, not boys or people my own age,” he said.
“I’m going to be up against guys of all ages, strengths and sizes. That’s the most exciting part of it.”
While Hodkinson and Kieran Foran fight it out for a spot in Manly’s halves, Cherry-Evans believes a strong season for Sunshine Coast will go a long way to him earning an NRL career.
“I think it’s (Queensland Cup) a really good stepping stone. Hopefully, I can put some good games together consistently and that will get me the chance to get into the NRL,” he said.
“I think my main goal this year is to play consistent footy, week-in, week-out.
“All I can do is put my best foot forward and hope for the best.”
Cherry-Evans has been named at five-eighth and will partner Ben Whiddon in the halves for the match that kicks off at 7pm at Stockland Park.