After a difficult few seasons on the northern beaches, Manly skipper Daly Cherry-Evans can see the light at the end of the tunnel heading into the 2020 NRL season.
Coming off an unlikely semi-finals appearance under coach Des Hasler, the Sea Eagles are in a better place now than across the past five years to start a new campaign.
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While they have not been immune to controversy over the pre-season, Cherry-Evans believes there is a sense of stability and confidence around the group.
“We’ve had some adversity the last few years, for sure, when it comes to off- field incidents from the players and even to salary cap stuff,” he said on Monday.
“We have endured some pretty tough times as a club so to come into this season relatively unscathed, we’re not coming into it perfect, but as a club where you want to be with the way it’s run, the coaching staff, the playing group, there’s a lot of things that can really get ticked off as a pass mark right now.”
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The biggest hurdle of the pre-season was finding a replacement for rising star Manase Fainu, who has been stood down by the NRL while facing serious charges relating to the stabbing of a man in October.
After releasing Api Koroisau to Penrith last year, Hasler was forced to recruit unwanted Newcastle hooker Danny Levi while Fainu’s case plays out in the courts.
Koroisau and Fainu worked in tandem last season to spark Manly’s attack, scoring nine tries between them.
“Api and Manase are both exceptional players and did a fantastic job for us last year but we’ve made it really clear to Danny and hopefully to everyone out there that Danny doesn’t have to be any one of those players, Danny has to be himself,” Cherry Evans said.
Daly Cherry-Evans wants Danny Levi to play his natural game.Source:News Regional Media
“Based on what I’ve seen at training, if Danny plays his best footy that’s enough for us this year.
“He’s extremely quick off the mark so that’s something that I need to make sure I work on is keeping up with him, because once he goes, he goes and you can’t miss the jump in the NRL, it goes pretty quickly.
“I think he’ll add a really nice element to our running game.”
Meanwhile, representative forwards Jake Trbojevic and Addin Fonua-Blake remain in doubt to play Melbourne at Lottoland on Sunday as they return from off-season shoulder surgeries.
Tofofoa Sipley and Sean Keppie are on standby to start for the Sea Eagles in round one.
Originally published asLevi’s signing could make or break Manly’s season. DCE wants him to play his own game
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