Daly Cherry-Evans is copping flak about how he is handling his negotiations for next year, but we should all just lay off him – he is not breaking any rules and is just looking out for his best interests.
If I switched jobs then changed my mind and was given the opportunity to go back to my original position, I definitely would. All of us probably would.
The main objective in life is to be happy and if for Daly that is in Manly, then he should stay.
It is frustrating for clubs and fans that they don’t really know what is going on until after Round 13 but that is the rule in place. Player managers are using it to their advantage and rightly so.
The worst part of the DCE situation is that it could be a media beat-up, and after Round 13 it will become clear that he will be at the Titans in 2016. Despite this, Daly has been criticised more than several other players who actually did backflip on their deals.
Josh Papalii, James Tedesco and the Mata’utia brothers all backed out of contracts with new clubs to stay put, and received little or no criticism at all.
So why so much hate for Daly?
The transfer system needs to be totally overhauled but how is a very difficult question to answer.
An end-of-year system has been touted but the NRL is in a unique position where this method would almost certainly fail. Unlike soccer, rugby league has to be aware of the threat of rival codes, predominantly rugby union. If players had to wait until the end of the year to sort out their contracts, it would open the possibility of union teams signing them beforehand.
If I was in good form in the middle of a season, I would want a big-money deal sorted before I suffered a loss in form or a season-ending injury to drive my price down.
The current system is also a failure as teams consistently fail to perform when key players have signed elsewhere a year in advance. You only have to look at Manly this year with DCE and Kieran Foran leaving. Another example is the 2012 Warriors who went from grand finalists to also rans after James Maloney signed with the Roosters.
My suggestion is to bring back the June 30 deadline, which is the best of both worlds from the two ideas mentioned above. Yes it was unpopular when it existed due to clubs secretly negotiating with players but it can be tweaked to work efficiently.
One way is to impose harsh penalties on teams who do these secret negotiations, perhaps a two premiership-point deduction for each player they are talking to. This method gives players ample time to sort out their futures while preventing clubs having a player on their books that they know will be leaving.
I am not suggesting this is the optimal solution, but I am yet to hear a better alternative.
Hopefully this mess is fixed up in time for the 2016 season but in the meantime as a Manly fan, I am praying for that DCE backflip. Let’s chuck in Kane Elgey and Nate Myles too.