Star halfback Daly Cherry-Evans has formally asked the Manly Sea Eagles for a release from his contract.
The Daily Telegraph can reveal Cherry-Evans’ manager, Gavin Orr, lodged the request to Sea Eagles chief operating officer David Perry on Friday afternoon. Manly immediately rejected it but the fight to keep Cherry-Evans has reached a critical stage.
The Daily Telegraph can also reveal Cherry-Evans is on a contract worth an embarrassing $85,000 a year – less than dozens of Toyota Cup players. His deal will increase to $125,000 for next season – still a pittance given what he achieved last season. He could command anything up to $450,000 a year.
Sea Eagles officials are terrified of fan backlash should they lose Cherry-Evans, particularly after the bumbling contract negotiations which led to two-time premiership-winning Des Hasler walking away.
Pressed on whether he thought Manly could pay Cherry-Evans more money, Orr said: “It is getting harder and harder because there are other people through third parties talking to me.”
“People like Tautau Moga at the Roosters are on more,” Orr said. “Cheyse Blair last year at the Roosters was on more. Blair is on more than now at Parramatta. There are a lot of Toyota Cup players on more.
“When Daly signed the (Manly) deal, no one wanted him. I tried to sell him to every club but the so-called geniuses in recruitment didn’t want him. I won’t put a figure on (what Cherry-Evans could earn) but I think he is ahead of Chris Sandow and Sandow is on $550,000 a year.”