Our very own captain Daly Cherry-Evans is among 10 elite Australian athletes vying for the Sports Dad of the Year award to be announced on Father's Day on Sunday, September 5.
Now in its 13th year, the award showcases the contribution Australia's sporting elite make to their families both on and off the field. Last year's winner was South Sydney Rabbitohs captain Adam Reynolds, who donated his winnings to Save our Sons, the organisation fighting every day for a cure to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
The Sports Dad of the Year will highlight 10 elite athletes across a range of sports, giving insights into how they juggle fatherhood with their sporting commitments.
This year's nominated Sports Dads will be profiled on sportsdads.com.au which will include questions and answers from the players about their families, as well as some comments from the athletes' family.
All voters have the opportunity to win special prizes for their own father this Father's Day, with the winning Philips Sports Dad of the Year receiving $5,000 to donate to their charity of choice and Daly’s is Gotcha4Life, an Australian mental fitness charity.
We asked Daly what it’s like being a dad to three daughters, Navi (8), Harvie (6) and Tully (3).
“Being a dad is tough,” Daly said smiling. “And I’m told it will only get tougher once they hit their teenage years haha! “But probably the thing I love most is trying to understand what makes my kids happy. Guiding them and supporting them to give them every opportunity to live a happy life.”
His wife Vessa shared some insight into some things were don’t know about Daly
“He is the best cook. The girls are always concerned what we will eat when he leaves for camp. He is very hands on with all aspects of parenting, even the nappy changing!
This year's other finalists for the award are fellow NRL stars Dale Finucane, Aaron Woods and Thomas Burgess.
Flying the flag for the AFL this year is Melbourne star forward Ben Brown and Brisbane Lions’ Mitch Robinson, while Wallabies flyer Marika Koroibete will hope to get plenty of votes from the rugby faithful. From the popular Supercars circuit, Dave Reynolds will be looking to add this year’s title as Sports Dad of the Year to his Bathurst triumph. And last but not least, rounding out this year’s contenders is Tokyo Olympic gold medallist and BMX wizard Logan Martin and Australian hockey star and Tokyo silver medallist Jake Whetton.
Vote now for Daly at sportsdads.com.au
Voting closes on Tuesday, August 31, and the Sports Dad of the Year winner will be announced on Father's Day.
Daly’s Sports Dad of the Year Questions:
Do you find it hard spending time away from the kids during the season and what’s it like now during Covid?
It’s definitely tough spending time away from the wife and kids. The kids are getting a bit older so they do understand it’s a part of my job. Covid has made life in a ‘bubble’ somewhat of a regular occurrence so we do make sure we use FaceTime a lot and when the borders are open they are on the first flight to come and cheer me on for game day.
On a normal game day, do you like to relax or do you try to keep away from the family?
The 24 hours heading into a game is pretty relaxed if I’m honest and the kids are usually playing a part in that. My partner does a fantastic job of taking the kids out to the shops or off to the park so they aren’t on top of me all day which I’m always grateful for!
Having 3 girls must be fun, tell us about those challenges?
Of course it comes with its challenges but that’s what makes it so enjoyable. The emotions are always running wild with my girls - and maybe my emotions also haha!! But nothing beats a moment like a big cuddle to comfort your daughter when she needs it most.
Tell us about your routine with the girls and how you look to devote as much of your spare time with each of them?
Since COVID my partner and I have become unqualified primary school teachers at home schooling haha! I’ve enjoyed playing a small role in that side of my kids’ upbringing. During summer we spend plenty of time at the beach or just relaxing at home and playing in the pool. And the winter months are a bit too much for any water activities so plenty of bike rides for us.
I guess you've seen your partner, Vessa in a whole new light on how she raises the girls?
I always knew my mum did a fantastic job but it’s not until you witness firsthand what a mother does to support your children that you really understand it all. I’ll always be grateful for the time Vessa has spent with our kids giving them so many opportunities to enjoy their childhood.
What is your favourite activity with the girls?
I may be an athlete who looks after himself but I have a massive sweet tooth so I’m always up for ice cream with the kids or quick stop at the local corner store!
Any memorable moments with them?
Last year we did a car trip from our home on the Northern beaches of Sydney up to Queensland and back. There were plenty of arguments and toilet stops but the time together on the road really brought us together!
Do you ever attend the kids’ school and have you been involved in any activity at school with them?
I’ve actually had to do a few promos on behalf of the Manly Sea Eagles at the kids’ school. The smiles on their faces when I walk in is priceless…they are so proud of me. I always make sure I pop in to their classrooms so they can show me their school work.
Do the kids like to come to your games and how does that make you feel?
The kids love coming to my games. And I love having them there. Win, lose or draw I’ll go find them after the game for a cuddle.
What sports do the kids enjoy playing and are you involved in their community sport?
My kids are currently playing soccer and do some gymnastics. Whatever keeps them happy and active.
When the season ends, and hopefully Covid restrictions stop, where would you like to take the family on a holiday?
It’s looking very likely we’ll stay up here in Queensland for the remainder of my season. So I’ll try to stay up here. My parents live in Brisbane so I’ll go see them. I am a massive sucker for Hamilton Island so hopefully we get there during my offseason.
What is his best asset as a father?
Daly has so much patience and time for the girls. He makes sure they know they can achieve anything but you have to work hard to get there.
What makes your dad so great?
Navi: He is funny and good at wrestling.
Harvie: He does good hugs when we get to sleep together in the same bed.
Tully: When he comes home he plays with me and talks to me.
Do you like watching dad play footy?
Navi: Yes I love it!
What’s your favourite sport?
Navi: Soccer and footy
Harvie: Soccer and footy
Tully: (She likes cheering for her dad and sisters when they play sport).