Cartwright firms as DCE vouches for the Manly assistant
MANLY captain Daly Cherry-Evans is backing John Cartwright to step up and succeed Trent Barrett if the disgruntled coach parts ways with the club, as expected, at the end of the NRL season.
Manly chairman Scott Penn will meet with Barrett in the coming days but their relationship appears untenable after months of in-house bickering at the Sea Eagles.
Cherry-Evans is all but resigned to losing his trusted coach and says, if Barrett walks as he has threatened to, he hopes his assistants are given first crack at the job.
"I'm not sure if anyone internally is going to put in their application but, if that was the case, I'm certainly really happy with the people we have there right now," Cherry-Evans said on Fox Sports' League Life.
"John Cartwright's an assistant and we've got a good up and coming young coach in Chad Randall so, look, if those guys were to get the big opportunity, I'd certainly back it.
"But I'm not naive enough to not think that the club is probably going to go and do some homework on it - but hopefully they look internally first."
Manly's next coach will be Cherry-Evans' fourth at the club since debuting in 2011 under Des Hasler, then playing for Geoff Toovey before Barrett's appointment in 2016.
The incumbent Queensland State of Origin halfback believes he has flourished most under Barrett and admits, if he goes, it will be an emotional last two games under the former Test player.
But the skipper says he is "so lucky" to have signed a lucrative deal until the end of 2023 and, regardless who is coaching, he hopes to end his career as a one-club man.
"It doesn't change what I'm paid to do, which is play footy," Cherry-Evans said.
"I obviously have a really strong affection for what 'Baz' has been able to do and help my footy career.
"And, look, if he's not there next year, I'm going to have to find ways with the new coaching staff to improve, and the new playing group.
"It's not all doom and gloom. Just the biggest disappointment is the impact he's had on the playing group in such a short period of time.
"It's going to be sad to see him go if that comes locked in the next couple of days, or couple of weeks."
Despite the expected upheaval, Cherry-Evans believes Manly's problems are "easily fixed".
"We've got a great playing group that's really committed to getting better," he said.
"Coaches change all the time and it's probably more common (at Manly) than other clubs.
"That's not ideal but, as for the politics around why Trent wants to leave, that's for him and the management."