Manly star Daly Cherry-Evans says he is determined to help his team make one more NRL finals push – for those who have been sacked and those who are about to be.
In a disappointing season that has resulted in the demise of coach Geoff Toovey, the 11th-placed Sea Eagles sit four points adrift of the top eight with just six games remaining.
Cherry-Evans said the playing group was gutted when informed of Toovey’s axing at a team meeting on Tuesday.
“It’s obviously been a tough year involved for everyone in the club, probably none more than Geoff Toovey.
“The only thing we can do now is make sure we send him out on the best possible note and hopefully that’s winning plenty of games,” Cherry-Evans said ahead of Saturday’s match against Brisbane.
The Manly halfback, who earlier this year signed a $10-million deal to stay with the club, suggested the months-long speculation surrounding Toovey’s future had played a part in their lowly position on the ladder.
“Maybe subconsciously, but to be honest, it really has never been a topic of conversation amongst the playing group. It’s a very upbeat, very happy group of players here at this club,” he said.
“It’s just disappointing to see it all come to an end like this.”
Cherry-Evans says he also feels for a number of his current teammates who are expected to follow Toovey out the door.
A reported 14 players have been told their services are surplus to requirements at the end of the season, including long-time servant Matt Ballin.
Ballin had also re-signed with the club for a further two years back in April.
“That’d be an extremely tough position to be in as a player,” Cherry-Evans said.
“I can only hope that if we can continue to make a couple of wins in a row that it’ll somewhat ease the pain of what possibly may be the departure of a few good friends.”
Skipper Jamie Lyon said it was simply part of the sporting business.
“It is a little disappointing like that. Some players have been here for a while and it’s not really good to see,” he said.
“But I’ve been in the game for quite a while now, (and) it’s just part of the business.”