WHEN it comes to teasing team-mates, little is usually off-limits in the NRL. But Manly players last week drew the line at geeing up Daly Cherry Evans over the line-dropout that cost them the match against Gold Coast.
And the Sea Eagles halfback rewarded their tact with an irresistible performance in the 26-0 shutout of Wests Tigers last Thursday.
“The team didn’t give him too much stick – even friendly sort of stuff,” prop Brent Kite said of the March 23 defeat, from a penalty goal in front when Cherry-Evans’ line dropout went into touch on the full.
“Personally, I looked at my own performance and a couple of things that were a little off and I’d done them better, would have contributed to us having a win.
“We just let him do what he does best and that’s leading us around and getting those deep kicks into the corner which I think he did better this week than last week.
“To his credit, he’s been really up-beat. I think you saw that if you give them some time, those halves, they can really do some damage.”
Cherry-Evans tells Rugby League Week he appreciated the support of team-mates.
“I put a lot of onus on myself in regard to losing that game last week,” he said. “We obviously had opportunities during the game but my kick was the one that gave them two points.
“I was really disappointed in myself but I was fortunate we had a short turnaround this week so we could get straight back out there and make amends.
“I was feeling really down but we’ve got such a good culture the boys were more than happy to come over and pat me on the back and let me know that there’s next week to fix it.
“Hopefully I did what I could to give the boys the two points.”
The Sea Eagles face up to Canterbury on Friday night in a round five encounter which could provide either side with a springboard after a mixed start to the season.
Kite, meanwhile, is confident Manly will lose little with his departure next year to Penrith on a two-year deal.
“They’ve recruited pretty well here considering there’s pressure as far as the cap goes,” he said.
“They’ve got some young blokes here on a bit of a chance. They’ve seen we’ve had a bit of success in the past and they’re happy to come and try to be part of that culture.
“They’re doing well, if not leading the way.
“I’ve seen a lot of the guys go before me so I’m just happy the ride has lasted as long as it has.
“They should go well. We don’t have a big three or a big two. We’ve shared the load. We’ve seen guys show a bit of loyalty and take less cash to keep the squad together as long as we have.
“We have seen guys leave. From the ’08 grand final, we’ve got eight guys still here. Although we have to lose guys year on year, we’ve haven’t lost them en masse.”
Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK