Under fire Manly coach Geoff Toovey reckons he has one less worry, claiming Daly Cherry-Evans finally appears “settled” after his contract saga.
But the besieged Sea Eagles mentor still has plenty to be concerned about after Jamie Lyon (hamstring) went down in their record 44-10 NRL loss at Brisbane on Friday night.
Cherry-Evans polarised the public when he reneged on a four-year Gold Coast deal this week and remained at Manly on a $10 million “lifetime” contract.
And Queensland fans appeared to turn on their own on Friday night, with Maroons Origin utility Cherry-Evans copping boos when he touched the ball at Suncorp Stadium.
Toovey rated the reaction as “quite tame” but knows worse is coming when Manly travel to Gold Coast for their July 13 clash.
However, Toovey doesn’t think he has to worry about Cherry-Evans’ head space.
“It must have been difficult for him but I think within himself he feels settled now,” Toovey said of his halfback.
“I thought he played a fairly reasonable game and I think he will only get better.
“He’s a quality person, a quality Queenslander – I don’t think they (Queensland fans) will hold too much against him for too long.”
Broncos coach Wayne Bennett wasn’t surprised by the boos.
“He’s been in the headlines for a month, you expect he’s going to get that reaction,” he said.
“It will be a tough time in his life, it’s not what you want, but he will have to overcome that.”
Toovey still has plenty on his mind despite Cherry-Evans ending months of speculation by staying put.
Manly are dead last and in serious danger of missing the finals for the first time since 2004.
Brisbane’s victory equalled the club record 44-10 scoreline set against the Sea Eagles in 1988 – the Broncos’ very first game.
Under pressure to keep his job after Manly bosses sounded out Trent Barrett, Toovey will only be feeling more pressure after the Sea Eagles’ heaviest loss in 10 years.
In another blow, Lyon is expected to miss “at least” a couple of weeks with a suspected grade two hamstring strain.
“The start of the game was the issue, too many errors, couldn’t buy a penalty in the first half,” Toovey said.
“I think they scored five fifth-tackle tries, which is poor – you can’t give these sides field position.”
In more bad news for Manly, back-rower Justin Horo was on report for an alleged 39th minute crusher tackle on Brisbane fullback Darius Boyd.
Not excitable at the best of times, Bennett was at his poker-faced best after the eight-tries-to-two romp orchestrated by class halfback Ben Hunt.
“We got lucky. On another night the bounce of the ball could have gone against us – we are not getting carried away,” he said.