Fierce criticism of Daly Cherry-Evans’ efforts over the opening rounds of the NRL season wasn’t fair, according to his new halves partner Dylan Walker.
Five-eighth Walker said Cherry-Evans was not solely to blame for the Sea Eagles’ lacklustre start to the season which included losses to Canterbury and Wests Tigers before Monday’s home win against Cronulla.
“There is a lot of pressure on Cherry, people point the finger at him. But it is not all about him, he wasn’t the only one out there, and he doesn’t take it personally,” Walker told AAP.
“Those first two games were not the standard any of us wanted to set.
“It is going to take some time still for our (halves) combination to get better and the Sharks match was an indication we are moving forward.
“We haven’t seen the best of Cherry yet. We all know how good he can be and once we get our combination better he will be the better for it.”
Cherry-Evans had a scrappy start to the round three win over Cronulla at Brookvale Oval, including failing to find touch after a penalty.
But his scrumbase combination with Walker was far smoother than it had been in previous weeks, no doubt helped by the return of fullback Brett Stewart.
His defence was also a feature, Cherry-Evans pulling off a number of bruising hits in defence in making 39 tackles, as he was unsuccessfully targeted by the Sharks attack.
“Cherry was fantastic in defence,” Walker said.
“But there is still a lot more I am expecting of myself. I have to keep building and working on my combinations with Cherry and Snake (Stewart) and my edge.
“It was great to have Snake back … I am feeling more and more confident each week.”
Walker paid tribute to Trent Barrett’s composure as he navigated a tough opening fortnight to his head coaching career.
“Trent has been very calm,” Walker said.
“We all had big expectations of how we would play this season and the first two weeks were not acceptable, but we we started to turn things around now.
“Trent is a cool, calm and collected bloke and passes that onto us.”