Cherry-Evans’ lifetime $10 million deal now looking a Sea Eagles steal
Daly Cherry-Evans lifetime $10 million deal at Manly is almost starting to look like a steal for the northern beaches club as the club's captain plays his 200th NRL game on Saturday night.
Cherry-Evans has seen the Sea Eagles at their best and worst and continues to lead by example.
Daly Cherry-Evans Credit:AAP
In fact, you have to wonder if Cherry-Evans has now gone past Geoff Toovey and Des Hasler as the club's greatest No. 7.
Manly legend Bob Fulton worked with Hasler, Toovey and Cherry-Evans, and while he said it was impossible to rate one above the other, he told the Herald: "You're talking different players and different eras.
"But all three of them had a massive impact on the teams they played with. They also all had success, won competitions, represented their respective states and Australia.
"They've all brought different things to the table. We all know about Des and Toovs. Chez's story is to be continued.
"He's become a more mature player. And he's been through some tough times from a club point of view. Without a doubt Manly are in good hands with him."
As a skinny kid from Redcliffe in Queensland, Cherry-Evans came through Manly's successful under-20s teams before bursting into the NRL in 2011 and winning the NRL title that year.
He has since seen coaches, including Hasler and Toovey, as well as some legendary players depart yet somehow the now 30-year-old has continued to aim up on and off the field.
To play 200 games so early into his ninth season also reflects how brilliantly he has looked after his body and been able to stay on the paddock.
He will take the fight to Mitchell Pearce and Newcastle after nailing the match winner in golden point against South Sydney seven days earlier.
While Cherry-Evans was criticised for his sensational backflip on the Gold Coast before he signed a career contract with Manly, Cherry-Evans and the Trbojevic brothers are the three reasons Sea Eagles fans live in hope.
Hasler was full of praise for Cherry-Evans and knew he would be a long-term player when he handed him his debut eight years ago.
"Players like him, you just knew he was going to make an impact in the game," Hasler told the Herald.
"He's played 200 games for the one club now, during those 200 games players set benchmarks and he's achieved all those benchmarks – he's played Origin and for Australia and won a grand final.
"The thing that sets players apart who reach 200-plus games is they play at a consistently-high level, he sets very high standards for himself, he's the consummate professional and works really hard on his game.
"The things he does by fluke or coincidence, they're not because he actually works hard on all areas of his game.''
Toovey, who played 238 games for Manly, plus another 48 for the Northern Eagles, described Cherry-Evans as a "survivor".
"He's now played 200 games? Wow. I remember him coming through the lower grades with a fairly good 20s side with Kieran Foran and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves," Toovey said.
"He came to the club during a golden era, but he's also seen the tumultuous times as well at the club. There were some big changes, and he's a survivor."
Like Fulton, Toovey was uncomfortable to declare who was Manly's greatest halfback, and nominated Cliff Lyons as the club's greatest player "with daylight second".
Manly lost their opening two matches but appreciated the drier conditions against New Zealand Warriors and then South Sydney last weekend.
Cherry-Evans made a point after the Souths win the club needed to learn from the opening two losses and cope without their star No.1.
The Knights are coming off a shorter turnaround and a golden-point loss to St George Illawarra.
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