Sea Eagles half-back Daly Cherry-Evans is set to become the running man in 2018.
And the good news for Sea Eagles supporters is that the outstanding number seven is set to enjoy an even bigger season after being named Manly’s Player of the Year in 2017.
“I want ‘Cherry’ to run. We will design a game plan around that and that’s my job, to get the ball in the hands of our best players at the right time in the right position,’’ Coach Trent Barrett said on Sky Sports Radio.
“He only needs half a yard, as does Tom (Trbojevic) and (Dylan) Walker. We have got a bit of strike (power) there so we have to just manufacture a game plan and a system that will get the best out of them.”
Barrett said appointing Cherry-Evans as captain last season was one of the keys in him enjoying his superb year.
The captaincy certainly helped in his preparation and his mindset. He is a natural leader.Trent Barrett on Daly Cherry-Evans
“It was just unlocking a few things for ‘Cherry’ like giving him the confidence that I am confident in him to do the job.
“Finding the right foil at five-eighth for him was another. ‘Cherry’ is one of the most talented off the cuffs players I have seen.
“We are pretty lucky with ‘Cherry’ and Tom in that we play with two floating full-backs. We don’t lock them into an edge, as long as they are balancing the field up, and our five-eighth controls the middle third of the field.
“It has just worked. Our spine looks good, I’m comfortable with it, they are comfortable with each other, and I think ‘Cherry’ is in for another big year.”
Barrett said he was satisfied with the decision to release five-eighth Blake Green to join the Warriors prior to the club missing out on the signature of Mitchell Pearce.
“They were unusual circumstances. You can look at it as a bit of a risk to let him go without a replacement locked in,’’ Barrett said.
“But it was also a risk for me in terms of the functioning of the team if you had a player here who had an opportunity to set his family up for the next three or four years, who made it quite clear to us that he didn’t want to be here given the opportunity that was in front of him.
“It was a difficult one for me and one that we stewed over for months. We made a decision and if I look back now, no I probably wouldn’t change the decision, I’m really happy with how it is has worked.
“In the end, some things happen for a reason. We are going to have a young guy in there, possibly (new recruit) Lachlan Croker who has done everything right over the last three months."
Barrett added lock Jake Trbojevic has returned to full training after overcoming a pec injury whilst centre Dylan Walker was ahead of schedule following ankle and shoulder operations.
“We are still aiming for round four but anything earlier before that is a bonus,’’ Barrett said of Walker.