Here’s the thing people: You can hate the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles as much as you want and you can hate Queensland as much as you like.
Knock yourselves out.
But your hatred of Daly Cherry-Evans is misplaced, inaccurate and undeserved.
Not only is he a superb and accomplished player, he’s a great human too.
After 11 years of utter dominance of State of Origin by the Cane Toads and their humiliation of the Cockroaches, often delivered with little wit, grace or class, I fully understand why many would gleefully take the opportunity to lay the boot into the Maroons and revel in their current state of disarray.
Lord knows, both the players from that era and a great mass of their supporters thoroughly deserve getting the medicine they served out in massive doses shoved right down their own throats now.
You won’t find me criticising you for that one little bit.
As well, just so you understand, I have no objection to you hating the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. I hate the Brookvale mob as much as the next person.
Perhaps not if the next person is Tommy Raudonikis, Mark Bugden or Ray Price, but I have a very healthy and well developed dislike.
However, let me qualify that by saying that what I hate isn’t the actual team, it is the supporters.
Manly supporters are the NRL equivalent of English football’s Millwall supporters: everyone hates them, they don’t care and they hate us right back.
The reasons for our enmity are clear. At the ground they are obnoxiously one eyed. Screaming for penalties where there are none vaguely deserved, and then howling with outrage when a blatant offence from one of their boys is punished.
They’ll lay into the opposition supporters horribly whenever they are on top, and the Brookvale faithful are the worst winners I’ve witnessed in my 40 years following the game, and I’ve witnessed both the Bulldogs and Roosters fans at their ugliest.
Sure – yes – I’ve got more than a few friends on line and in person who belong to the maroon and white brood. Yes, many of these people don’t neatly fit into the above described mould. Many of them may no longer be my friend after this. However, for the most part my generalisations hold quite a bit of water.
So I’ve got no problem with people hating on Queensland or Manly supporters at all. Knock yourselves out.
However, my experience of the Sea Eagles club and many of the players has been nothing but positive. While Brookvale Oval – now called “4 Pines Park” after a beer sponsor, which is quite appropriate given the state of many of the fans I’ve endured there – is the most dilapidated, ramshackle poor excuse for a first grade ground in the NRL (and I’ve been to Campbelltown), the club staff and officials who run the joint are probably the best, most helpful and friendly of any club I’ve been to.
It is really hard to hate them. Impossible even. And I really want to.
Further, many of the players are great. Sure, Dylan Walker does play for them. However, my experience is that he is the exception, not the rule. And I haven’t actually met him either.
My experience has included being treated in a manner well above that deserved of my lowly rank by the likes of Jamie Lyon, Jason King, Jake Trbojevic and even Des Hasler. Each gave me genuine time and provided thoughtful opinion and responses. I’d like to say that was a common thing with footy players, but it really isn’t.
On April 4 2015 I was on the sideline for ABC Sport when down in Albury when a tall young man of just 18 years and six months of age made his debut for the Sea Eagles.
Tom Trbojevic scored two tries on debut in an impressive performance. At full time I made a bee-line for the young man and had the honour of doing his first on-field interview. I was immediately struck by what a well-spoken, humble and intelligent young man he was. My opinion of him has only grown since then.
However, without question the person who I’ve been a fan of from day one is Daly Cherry-Evans. Outside the Raiders players that I see easily more than any others, DCE has given me more time than any other player. He is polite, friendly, intelligent and well spoken.
He has never been entangled in even a whiff of scandal and he plays the game clean.
Yet people say that he’s an asshole.
He has now played 250 games for his Sea Eagles, winning a premiership with them in 2011 and winning the Clive Churchill Medal in a losing side in 2013.
He has represented Australia 15 times and pulled on a Maroons jersey 14 times and has captained his State to a series triumph against the odds just last season.
This season he has assisted 13 tries, made eight line break assists and has 27 try involvements.
Yet people say he can’t play.
My questions are: Who are these people? Have they actually watched him play? Have they actually met the man?
Some people are now hating on him because Queensland are presently getting towelled up in the 2021 series. Apparently it is all his fault according to some.
I’m not sure how he can be blamed for the Maroons backline being so inferior to the NSW model.
If you are opposing a backline of James Tedesco, Josh Addo-Carr, Brian To’o, Tom Trbojevic and Latrell Mitchell you need players of equal calibre if you hope to win. Opposing them with Valentine Holmes, Xavier Coates, Kyle Feldt, Dane Gagai and Kurt Capewell was always a long shot at best.
That isn’t Cherry-Evans’ fault. Further, that Kalyn Ponga and AJ Brimson weren’t available through injury also wasn’t his fault.
You can’t win a drag race against a BMW M3 in a Leyland P76. But it seems you can blame DCE when the M3 wins, while conveniently forgetting that he piloted the P76 home in first against that same M3 just last year…
People deified Cam Smith and ignored his often grubby play. Cherry-Evans plays the game as clean as Peter Sterling ever did, yet people often talk about him as if he’s a thug and a cheat. On what evidence?
In 2015 people went to town on the young man from Redcliffe for backflipping on his deal to go to the Gold Coast Titans. Apparently he was the worst type of human because of that.
His backflip was no different to those performed by Josh Papali’i and James Tedesco, yet neither one of them was demonised.
And he didn’t break any rules whatsoever. What he did do was to get the very best contract that he could.
Just as Kerry Packer famously said, “Of course I am minimising my tax. And if anybody in this country doesn’t minimise their tax, they want their heads read”, of course DCE tried to get the most money he could, while he could get it.
Do people really think he shouldn’t have? Have they not heard about capitalism? The collapse of the Soviets? It was in all of the papers…
Further, Cherry-Evans stayed with the club that gave him his start in the old under 20s competition in 2008. The same club that he has now played 250 games for and captains. He didn’t backflip on the Titans and take off to Uncle Nick or the Broncos. But somehow that isn’t considered when people declare him an awful person.
So go on, hate on the Maroons until your voice is hoarse and your throat and keyboard are sore. Despise the Manly fans in all their obnoxious and one eyed awfulness. You won’t have me trying to stop you.
But when you start in on Daly Cherry-Evans for being a bad player and a rotten bloke, just realise that anyone with a developed brain will think you’re just a blind hater.