Manly’s $10 million man Daly Cherry-Evans has given his new halves pairing with Dylan Walker a pass mark and insists he feels no added pressure following their 0-2 start to the NRL season.
After failing to deliver on their hype over the opening fortnight with losses to Canterbury and the Wests Tigers, the Sea Eagles have been the biggest disappointments of the new season.
It was always coach Trent Barrett’s prediction that it would take time for Cherry-Evans and inexperienced pivot Walker to come together as a slick pairing.
However, they are suddenly under scrutiny after a couple of below-par showings.
“So far, it’s been okay. It hasn’t been outstanding by any means but we’re continuing to work hard, to get on the same page as soon as possible,” said Cherry-Evans who gave the pairing a pass mark.
One of the big questions coming into 2016 was whether halfback Cherry-Evans could successfully run on both sides of the field, similar to North Queensland great Johnathan Thurston.
With South Sydney recruit Walker getting used to the five-eighth position following his switch from the centres, Cherry-Evans has been given a greater role to play in the running of the side.
Asked if he was feeling pressure to take ownership for the slow start, owing to his added responsibility with the side this year, Cherry-Evans said: “None more than previous years.
“Any time I wear the No.7 jersey, I always feel the result may hinge on how I play.
“With two losses, I’m obviously disappointed so I’ll make sure I’m working hard with the team to right the wrongs.”
The Sea Eagles are second last and desperate to open their account at Brookvale Oval on Monday night against Cronulla, who they have seemingly had the wood over for the past 50 years.
The Sharks have endured a horrible record at Brookvale since their inception in 1967, winning just five of 38 matches there.
While Cherry-Evans was not making much of their opposition’s hoodoo, he was expecting they would have a point to prove after the Sea Eagles upset the Sharks last year in round 26.
Their surprise win cost the Sharks an all-important top-four spot and contributed to their exit from the finals in week two at the hands of North Queensland.
“It could be fresh on their minds,” Cherry-Evans said.
“It’s not something we’ll worry about. We need to make sure we work hard and stick together and, if we can continue to improve on the first two rounds and put ourselves in a position to win again, I’m sure we’ll learn from our mistakes.”