Gold Coast coach Neil Henry says the Titans can do nothing but trust that Daly Cherry-Evans will honour his rich four-year deal to join the NRL club.
Speculation is rife the Queensland and Australian representative is considering backing out of the deal, which would have made him the Titans’ marquee man from the 2016 campaign onwards.
Cherry-Evans, like any NRL player, has until round 13 to back out of an agreed deal and it’s been reported Manly are making a bid to convince the 26-year-old to stay at Brookvale.
The Titans issued a brief statement on Thursday night claiming Cherry-Evans’ management team had assured the club the reports were “untrue” and there was no intention not to honour the deal.
“I have spoken directly with Gavin Orr and Chris Orr of Pacific Sports Management,” Titans chief executive Graham Annesley said in the statement.
“I have been assured that any suggestion Daly Cherry-Evans will not be honouring his contract with the Titans is untrue.”
Henry wouldn’t comment specifically on the situation before a training session on Friday, saying all the club can do is take the word of Cherry-Evans’ manager that he is still coming to the Gold Coast.
“I’d expect that when players agree to clubs and they go through a process and they make a very considered decision, that they stick to their decision,” he said.
“That’s what I’d expect in this situation.”
Reports suggest uncertainty over the future of Cherry-Evans’ State of Origin teammate Nate Myles are also playing a role in the situation.
Myles is off-contract at season’s end and yet to agree a deal with the Titans.
Both he and Cherry-Evans share the same management team.
The Sea Eagles are believed to be preparing a bid of their own to bring the 29-year-old forward to Brookvale in an effort to help convince Cherry-Evans to stay.
Myles didn’t speak to media at Friday’s captain’s run, with vice-captain Will Zillman taking his place.
Henry said the broader situation of players having the option to back out of deals before round 13 was far from perfect for clubs.
Apart from Cherry-Evans, it’s believed the Sydney Roosters are trying to convince young fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to stay at Bondi despite agreeing a deal with the Warriors.
The Titans could also make a play of their own should the rumours of Cherry-Evans’ intentions prove true, with five-eighth Aidan Sezer having agreed a three-year deal to join Canberra at season’s end.
“It’s not ideal … players that have committed to other clubs have always had that opportunity. That’s how it is,” Henry said.