Manly are expecting Daly Cherry-Evans to provide an emphatic response to his State of Origin dumping in Sunday’s NRL clash with Cronulla.
The Sea Eagles No.9 was axed from the Queensland side for Wednesday’s series decider after a quiet showing in game two.
With Cooper Cronk returning from a knee injury, Cherry-Evans could not even maintain a spot on the interchange bench with coach Mal Meninga opting for North Queensland five-eighth Michael Morgan.
Meninga said Morgan was given the spot because of his versatility and ability to fill in in the outside backs.
Cherry-Evans was widely criticised for not playing direct enough and his style did not fit in with the Maroons’ game plan.
Last week Queensland playmaker Johnathan Thurston delivered what could be interpreted as a coded criticism of Cherry-Evans when he said the side was successful because it was full of team players rather than relying on individual brilliance.
Manly coach Geoff Toovey stopped short of saying Cherry-Evans would have a point to prove in his first outing since his axing however predicted he would be out to a make a statement against the Sharks at Brookvale Oval.
“I’m very disappointed for him individually but very pleased for the Manly club,” Toovey said on Friday.
“I think he’ll have a wow of a game this Sunday.
“He won’t have a point to prove, no issues there, but I think he’s determined to have a great game this Sunday.”
The last-placed Sea Eagles have received a boost with skipper Jamie Lyon to return from a hamstring problem and Peta Hiku to drop out of the side.
“Jamie got through training yesterday okay so it’s just a skipper’s run so I think he’ll be fine,” Toovey said.