DCE standing firm: 'I’m not going anywhere'
DALY Cherry-Evans says Manly's year from hell will not drive him out of Brookvale, scuppering the prospect of returning to Queensland to finish his career at the Broncos.
Cherry-Evans returns to Suncorp Stadium - the scene of his superb display for Queensland in Origin III - to face Brisbane in a final-round clash that will determine whether the Broncos snare a home semi-final.
But while Cherry-Evans has fond memories of Suncorp following his successful Maroons comeback in July, the Sea Eagles skipper insists the famous ground will not become his permanent home.
It was rumoured Cherry-Evans could walk out on Manly and join Brisbane in protest at coach Trent Barrett's treatment, but the Maroons maestro says he will honour his 'lifetime' deal.
Cherry-Evans has signed an eight-year extension with Manly worth $10 million, keeping him at the club until the end of 2023.
"I'm staying at Manly," he said ahead of Sunday's final-round showdown with the Broncos club that snubbed him as a teenager.
"I have no intention to leave the club at all.
"I have created my own family and I'd love nothing more than to bring up my kids on the northern beaches (of Sydney).
"They understand their dad is a proud Queenslander but the lifestyle of Manly has captured me and I love living in Sydney.
"Look, it's the NRL and I'm not naive enough to think that one day I won't get tapped on the shoulder, but personally I have no interest in going anywhere else.
"I see myself playing out my career at the Sea Eagles."
Cherry-Evans spoke of his disappointment at the off-field political drama surrounding Barrett, who is rumoured to have quit - meaning today's clash could be his final game in charge of Manly.
Barrett has played a key role in Cherry-Evans' Origin renaissance this season and the playmaker hopes the former NSW pivot is not lost to Manly.
"Whatever Trent decides is up to him, but I'd love for him to stay," he said.
"It's been hard to see Trent go through everything he is experiencing because I know how hard he works to get us ready for footy games. He wouldn't enjoy the attention he is getting.
"My only concern is wrapping my head around losing a coach who I have so much time and respect for and has elevated my game in the time I've been here.
"Trent has really gotten the best out of me. The next coach here one day might do that for me but I can never be critical of what Trent has done for me as a playmaker."
Asked if Barrett has told Manly players he has quit, Cherry-Evans said: "No, it's still the big unknown.
"The playing group and a lot of us are holding out hope he will coach us next year. The media reports are saying something different but we've had nothing official from Trent.
"It's been a crazy ride but I've enjoyed being coached by Trent and if this is his last game coaching the club I will try and make it a memorable one for him."
Cherry-Evans is looking forward to running onto Suncorp after scoring the matchwinning try in Queensland's 18-12 defeat of the Blues to avoid a 3-0 rout.
"This year hasn't had too many highlights for in Manly colours, so Game Three at Suncorp is something I will hang my hat on this season," he said.
"I will be proud of that game for a long time.
"I love playing at Suncorp, it's a childhood dream so to get the opportunity in the Maroon jersey was a special night and one I won't forget.
"I loved every moment back in the Origin arena, it was nice to hear cheers for my name for a change."
Get ready for cricket like never before. FREE Sport HD + Entertainment until the first 4K cricket ball as part of 3 months free on a 12 month plan. SIGN UP TODAY. T & Cs apply.