Mar 16, 2012 League Freak Manly Sea Eagles 0
Daly Cherry-Evans is a 23 year old halfback that has proven himself in big games, won a premiership with the Manly Sea Eagles and represented Australia. You simply don’t get many young halfbacks that tick all of those boxes.
I don’t mean right now in 2012….I mean ever!
Right now Daly Cherry-Evans is one of the most valuable players in the competition for the simple fact that he has proven to be a star player, and yet he is still on the first contract he signed with the club. That means he is earning less than $100,000 a year right now.
Players that are stars and still on their “rookie” contract are like diamonds in the NRL. They can be the difference between having a good team, and being a premiership winner in the NRL.
Like all of the young stars on their first contract though, Cherry-Evans knows his true worth, and he wants to be paid what he is worth. That is completely understandable, and you can not hold anything against him for wanting that.
Here is where we run into problems though…
The Manly Sea Eagles are running into salary cap problems because a lot of the players they have signed in the past are on back ended contracts. Back ended contract pay you less in your first few years and more in the last years of your contract.
The idea behind these contracts is to hold onto your most important players while fitting them under your current salary cap. As years go on, the club is almost gambling on salary cap rises to help ease cap pressures they may run into years later when that player on a back ended contract is now earning a big salary in his last two years.
With the NRL salary cap expected to rise to $5 million dollars next season, I can’t for the life of me understand how any club can find themselves running into salary cap pressure right now, but plenty are. Some because they planned for the $5 million dollar cap rise, others because they just poorly managed their salary cap situation in the past.
So where do the Manly Sea Eagles stand?
For what ever reason, the Sea Eagles have balked at signing long term contract extensions with proven winners. Most notably, former coach Des Hasler, who all last season pushed for the clubs to give him a long term deal. The club refused, and the issue snowballed even as the club won last years Grand Final.
As a multiple time premiership winner, an the coach that dragged the Sea Eagles out of the mud and made them the best team in the competition, Hasler knew his worth to the Sea Eagles. When they refused to offer him long term job security, he looked elsewhere, and the Canterbury Bulldogs swooped in and signed a proven, premiership winning coach, for the start of the 2013 season.
Now we all know what happened from there. The Sea Eagles were furious with Hasler, they sacked him with allegations of misconduct, he went to the Bulldogs straight away and even to this day the Sea Eagles are threatening legal action against Hasler.
Just a few months on, and now its the Sea Eagles young halfback who wants a contract extension and to be paid what he is worth. So why aren’t the Sea Eagles locking him up before other clubs swoop in like the Bulldogs did last season?
I is being rumoured that the club will lose fullback Brett Stewart next season, possibly to the Dragons. Stewart is a player few expected to ever leave the Sea Eagles, however, he is one of the best players in the competition and will demand top dollar. Sometimes, you just can’t hold onto those players.
Then there is young Kiwi five-eight Kieran Foran. He is reported to be looking for a 14% slice of the Sea Eagles salary cap, which will obviously see his salary raised any time the salary cap is raised by the NRL. A ballsy move, but a smart one.
To have so many key players off contract right now, the Sea Eagles have screwed up somewhere. There is no doubt that winning a premiership places pressure on a club when it comes to retaining players, but few premiership winning clubs lose all of their key players like the Sea Eagles possibly could. To get into that situation, you have to question the way the Sea Eagles have managed their salary cap.
Back to Daly Cherry-Evans, he is going to cost the Sea Eagles a hell of a lot of money to hold onto. The club in the past has resisted the urge to sign certain people at the club to longer term deals, and to their credit, it seems to have worked out pretty well for them.
Trent Hodkinson was a former Sea Eagles halfback that was looking for more money, and the Sea Eagles let him walk, knowing they had Cherry-Evans waiting in the wings. Do they have another very good halfback standing by now waiting to take Cherry-Evans place?
If they do, you have to question whether he is as good as Cherry-Evans, and if so, what would happen when he wants a raise and contract extension? Even the luckiest club in the world can’t keep turning out top young halfbacks forever.
In my opinion, Daly Cherry-Evans is worth $500,000 a year. Easily. He ticks so many boxes for what you want from a halfback. When you look at what the likes of Jonathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk and Chris Sandow are earnings right now, Cherry-Evans, at just 23 years old, is a bit of a steal at $500,000 a year.
There are so many teams out there he would be perfect for. The South Sydney Rabbitohs, the Cronulla Sharks, the Gold Coast Titans, hell he could go to the Brisbane Broncos and be a superstar in a young side that would win multiple premierships.
Who ever decided to go after Cherry Evans would no doubt have to make a number of moves with players currently under contract. Some clubs may even have to completely change plans they had already put in place. I’d suggest it would all be worth it though.
I think the Sea Eagles will hold onto Cherry-Evans. I just can’t believe that a club with a good young halfback like him would not do everything it could to hold onto him.
I guess it won’t be long before we find out.
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
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