Daly Cherry-Evans has the support of some key Manly players as his captaincy comes under threat.Manly have sought to draw a line underneath their ill-fated trip to Gladstone after slugging four players with $1500 fines for their visit to a strip club.
Three days after Cherry-Evans was fined $10,000 following a physical altercation with teammate Jackson Hastings, the club issued breach notices to four more players for breaking curfew.
The club declined to name the players involved, citing welfare issues.
“The players have accepted full responsibility for their actions,” the club said.
“And due to welfare and privacy issues, the club will not be publicly disclosing the names of the players.
“The club now considers the review of this matter complete.”
It came as ace fullback Tom Trbojevic threw his support behind embattled captain Cherry-Evans and defended the team’s culture and unity.
Cherry-Evans, as well as the banished Hastings, are the only players called out publicly over the incident in which players visited a strip club after being told to go back to their hotel.
The saga has some critics questioning the leadership credentials of Cherry-Evans, the playmaker the Sea Eagles staked their future on with a multi-million dollar, long-term contract after he back out of a lucrative deal with Gold Coast.
“We love having (Cherry-Evans) as our leader and I love playing with him week in, week out,” Trbojevic said.
“(It’s been) a tough few weeks for him but we know we’ll get the best of him for the rest of the year.
“When he’s playing his best footy, we’re a very good footy side.”
Manly have lost three straight matches, the rot starting with their road trip to Gladstone where they went down to the Titans while they were on the end of a demoralising 44-10 defeat to previously winless Parramatta last weekend.
Trbojevic was one of several players denying on Tuesday there was a split in the playing group after reports some had messaged support to Hastings.
He also rejected suggestions that bullying in the form of practical jokes may have contributed to Hastings’ exile from the first-grade squad.
“We’re a very close footy team. There’s certainly no divide,” Trbojevic said.
Veteran winger Akuila Uate made an emotional plea for the media to leave the Gladstone incident in the past.
“We get dragged down by you guys and to stay positive, you guys can actually help us,” he told reporters.
“With this situation, I feel for whoever gets involved because we’ve got feelings as well and if you drag us down, of course we’re not going to be the best player we could be.
“I feel for Chez (Cherry-Evans).
“He’s got three beautiful girls to go to every afternoon, every day, and he comes in and rips in at training and he’s done nothing wrong.”
Australian Associated Press