It’s official, Daly Cherry-Evans has signed a four year deal to join the Gold Coast Titans from 2016.
The deal runs for two years, with an extra two year option in Cherry-Evans favour on the back end of the deal. That is most likely in place with an eye on the new broadcasting deal. Should the salary cap rise dramatically DCE would be able to renegotiate his contract with the Titans heading into 2018.
The decision ends a long drawn out saga in which Cherry-Evans was attacked from all sides as he pondered the biggest financial decision of his life.
There are a number of aspects of Cherry-Evans move to the Titans that are interesting to look at.
First of all, I find it shocking that the Manly Sea Eagles could get to the point where they are losing a young Premiership winning halfback to another club. DCE is the type of young player you build a club around long term. To lose a player like that to another club is a big blow, especially when you consider that the Sea Eagles cleared the decks of some big contracts so they had the salary cap space to retain their halves pairing.
For what ever reason the Manly Sea Eagles have run into some really negative situations over the last few years regarding players and coaches who they probably should have held onto.
The sudden loss of young William Hopoate after a Premiership victory was followed by the sudden departure of Des Hasler who got a long term deal from the Bulldogs the Sea Eagles seemed unwilling to give him.
Steve Matai’s ongoing contract dispute was a long running distraction and it followed the messy situation in which the club moved on Glenn Stewart and Anthony Watmough, a Premiership winning back row combination. While I agreed with the clubs decision to move them on, the messy way it was handled led to so much animosity that really destabilised the club.
Kieran Foran is rumoured to be on his way to the Parramatta Eels at the same time the Sea Eagles are said to covet Eels coach Brad Arthur. This despite the fact that Geoff Toovey has done a tremendous job in coaching a Sea Eagles team that has had to deal with turmoil at board level and constant injury issues over the Clare of his tenure.
When you take all of that into consideration you have to wonder what the hell is going on at the Manly Sea Eagles club. Something’s not right. That is way too much drama for any club to be dealing with. Not all of it can be pinned on individual players. At some point you have to look at the club itself.
Another interesting thing to consider is the fact that Cherry-Evans is leaving the Sea Eagles to join a club that is owned by the NRL itself.
While I have no doubt the NRL purposely kept themselves at arms distance from negotiations with DCE, and allowed the administration of the Titans to do all the courting and make the offers, it’s still not the best look when a team owned by the NRL signs a player from another club on big money.
I don’t believe there is a conflict of interest in this case, but it is very easy to perceive a conflict of interest….and in most cases, that’s enough to piss a lot of people off.
I have no doubt we will see Manly Sea Eagles officials blowing up about the Titans move. I also think it will put other NRL clubs off side with the games officials.
Last but not least, the way this was all handled by DCE, and more importantly his management, needs to be looked at.
I have no issue at all with a player going around and checking out clubs to see which deal might be best suited to his needs. This is the biggest financial deal of Daly Cherry-Evans life, of course he was going to take him time and make sure he made a choice he was comfortable with.
I think the way his manager played things out in the media was a bit off, but hey, that is just what happens these days.
Plenty of people will be upset that a player can sign with another club a season ahead of time. Let me tell you right now, if we had rules in place to stop clubs from officially signing players until November, nothing at all would change.
We would still see players touring perspective clubs, we would still see them being pimped out in the media by their managers, we would still hear constant rumours, and deals would be signed off on throughout the year anyway. They just wouldn’t be sent into the NRL itself until November rolled around.
I would rather see the reality play out of player signings during the entire season rather than pretend that deals aren’t being don’t until after the season anyway.
Right now the Manly Sea Eagles know exactly where they stand in terms of Daly Cherry-Evans future at the club. They know they now need to play aged for next season. They’ll know how much salary cap space they will have to play with and they can now turn their complete attention towards retaining Kieran Foran.
That surely has to be a better scenario than a full year of uncertainty and then having to scramble in November to find a replacement for DCE.
I think it is great that Cherry-Evans has secured his future. It is fantastic news for the Gold Coast Titans that they now have a young player they can build their club around. A clean skin who may prompt them to move on some of the issues they have in the playing ranks right now. A fresh start for a club that desperately needed a break.
As for the Sea Eagles, they really need to get their house in order. Too many bridges are being burned at the club and they are starting to get a reputation for not looking after their own. That needs to change, and fast. No club can afford to develop players only to lose them to other clubs.
For the Manly Sea Eagles, they need to take a leaf out of Cherry-Evans book and consider what they want out of their long term future.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com