Daly Cherry-Evans has defended his decision to backflip on the Gold Coast and sign a lifetime contract with Manly, saying he never misled Titans fans and administrators.
Cherry-Evans’ reputation has taken a battering during the drawn-out contract saga, which came to a close on Tuesday when he announced he would stay with his junior club.
In February, the Queensland and Australian representative was captured visiting Cronulla for discussions with Sharks powerbrokers.
And his eventual backflip had been mooted for weeks by the media, leading to criticism that he and his management were playing out negotiations publicly.
While Cherry-Evans said he regretted the level of media scrutiny, he said he hadn’t fuelled it and he did not received an updated offer from the Sea Eagles until 48 hours before he put pen to paper.
He conceded his managers Chris and Gavin Orr would have been negotiating behind the scenes, but said he was unaware and therefore not guilty of any leaks.
“I can honestly say that I gave absolutely no indication to Manly that I was going to stay,” he told Sterlo on The Couch on Fox Sports on Wednesday night.
“Any dealings (my management) may have been doing was with me not to know – and that’s how I wanted it. I didn’t want to know if there was something going on behind the scenes.
“I just wanted to worry about what I had committed to at the time and playing good football.
“I’m not going to deny there would have been work going on behind the scenes to get a deal, but I kept at arm’s length and I wasn’t given a deal until the last 48 hours.
“When that came through it was a decision I made pretty quickly.”
He said the decision of good mate Nate Myles to sign with Manly had not entered into his calculations.
It was speculated that Manly signed Myles on a three-year deal from 2016 in the hope he could help coax Cherry-Evans into staying, however the No.7 said the only factor in his decision was the wellbeing of his family.
He said he expected to receive a chorus of boos from the Titans faithful when he runs out for Manly on the Gold Coast in round 18.
He said there were repercussions for his decision but at no point had he been dishonest with anyone.
“I was fully committed to going (to the Gold Coast) until 48 hours ago and I can honestly say that,” he said.
“I made commitments to them outside of rugby league terms. I had processes in place that would have seen me move up there and have my family in an area on the Gold Coast.”