Daly Cherry-Evans has thrown his full confidence in young Sea Eagles rake Jayden Hodges, declaring he has the ability fit in to Matt Ballin’s shoes.
Despite admitting that it will be a difficult transition, Cherry-Evans feels that with a bit of guidance Hodges is the right man to take the Sea Eagles deep into the finals series.
“Yeah it’s going to be a difficult transition. Matty Ballin has been tried and tested for so many years and done an amazing job. He’s made my job so much easier,” Cherry-Evans said.
“The shoes could be on the other foot this weekend, where as a half, I’m going to have to help the young, new hooker [Jayden Hodges] out.
“I’ve got every belief that the ability Jayden has shown in his first grade games, that he’ll be able to do a great job and hopefully I can help him as much as possible,
“There’s some big shoes to fill, but as I said I’ve got no doubt that he’ll be able to do a great job.”
Cherry-Evans recently brought up his 100th First Grade game, and has never played for Manly with a different hooker inside him. It’s a truly remarkable feat and a great testament to the durability of hooker Matt Ballin Daly believes.
“He is an ironman of modern day rugby league, he has done an unbelievable job and I hope he gets the praises he deserves in regards to that,” he said.
“The quality of football he’s upheld during that time has been amazing,
“I’ve been very fortunate that Brett, Matt, Kieran and myself have all played a lot of football together,” he said.
“That definitely helps the team stick together when you have people in key positions playing a lot of football together.
“We’re going to be heavily tested this weekend with a new hooker, but I’ve got no doubt that we’ll come through the other side ok.
Cherry-Evans has pinpointed Maroon teammate and two-time Dally M Medal winner, Johnathan Thurston as the man the Sea Eagles have to keep an eye on if they are to come out on top on Saturday Night.
“We have to limit what JT can do,” he said.
“He has so much involvement in a game of Rugby League that it’s really hard to stop everything he does,”
“We need to make sure that we limit the opportunities that are presented to JT and hopefully that he has minimal impact on the game, which is sometimes very hard to do and easier said than done.”
Whilst a Manly victory will see them etch their name into the history books with a minor premiership for the foirst time in 17 years, Cherry-Evans concedes the sole focus is putting in an 80 minute performance come Saturday Night in Townsville.
“The most important thing we need to worry about is the processes we go through to play good football,” he said.
“If a win comes with that this weekend obviously the minor premiership is ours.
“I think if we just worry about the 80 minutes with the Cowboys and playing good football in the build up to finals, that outcome will take care of itself.
“It’s not the be all and end all the result, but the way we go about it and the way we play our football is definitely the most important part.”