Manly Warringah Sea Eagles captain Daly Cherry-Evans says the pain of watching the 2021 Grand Final, combined with some valuable finals lessons, will make a big difference to his side this season.
The brilliant half-back admitted it was 'harder’ to watch the season decider between Penrith and South Sydney after coming so close last season compared to recent years.
The Sea Eagles were eliminated one week out from the Grand Final by Souths in the Preliminary Final.
“Being only one game away, I certainly felt we had an opportunity to be there and we just didn’t take it,’’ Cherry-Evans said.
“That’s one of the massive lessons we will learn as a team…..how to approach big games. We gained a lot of experience from last season and the finals series we participated in.
“We’re not a given for a top four (spot) this year but I feel we know what it takes to get there, and we are willing to do that again, and when we do get there, we will learn from our lessons last year.”
Daly: A step in the right direction
The free-flowing exciting attacking style the Sea Eagles played captured the rugby league public’s attention with Des Hasler’s men finishing with the most tries and most points in a season in the club’s proud 75-year history.
The match-winning half was superb again in 2021 with his leadership and plays. He also came up with 27 try assists to finish the season as one of the five nominated players for the Dally M Medal.
We're not a patient team, we like to chance our handDaly Cherry-Evans
“That’s why we were so likeable last year because we played a style of footy that made people want to tune in and see what the Sea Eagles were doing each weekend.
“It has its pros and cons. We probably did drop the ball more than most teams last year, and that frustrates members and fans, but that’s part and parcel with the style of footy we played.
“When it’s good, it’s really good and when it was bad, it was hard to watch I guess.
“We have started to build on something as a group and we will try and tidy a lot of our areas up, but chancing our hand is definitely something that we have done as a side.
“I can’t help but think it put us in a position to play finals footy last year because we played with that nothing to lose sort of mentality.
“I think we need to keep building on that. Maybe if we can take a bit more of a patient approach, that might be the level we need this year to go to another level.”