DCE’s latest deal to make more history

Scott Bailey |

Seven years after his $10 million lifetime deal rewrote NRL record books, Manly players have declared Daly Cherry-Evans’ next contract will rightfully create more history.

Only formalities remain to be tidied up, with Manly set to confirm a new two-year deal with the Kangaroos halfback as soon as this week.

The new contract will see 33-year-old Cherry-Evans remain at the club until at least the end of 2025, with his so-called lifetime deal signed in 2015 expiring next year.

It means Cherry-Evans (265 games)  is on track to surpass Cliff Lyons (308) as the club’s most-capped player, as well as rivalling Steve Menzies’ record of 349 games for Manly and former merger Northern Eagles.

In turn, teammates believe it will cement his status as an all-time club great.

“He definitely (deserves it),” hooker Lachlan Croker said.

“Winning a comp here and playing for 15 years or whatever by the end of it, it’s really important.

“He will be so proud of what he has done … being able to look back on that in 50 years time, that’s all you can hope for.”

Extending Cherry-Evans contract beyond his 36th birthday is not seen as a risk for Manly, given his current form.

The No.7 arguably had his best season in years in 2021, with prop Sean Keppie stating on Tuesday his game and influence are only getting better with age.

“It’s the things like kicking us in corners and tightening our defensive line up are the things non-footy watchers don’t really understand,” Croker said.

“But within our walls he is a very much one of the most respected players here, and what he does for our team is very important.”

Cherry-Evans’ new deal will likely be worth less than his current one, which was, at one point, the richest in NRL history with $1.2 million a year to keep him from moving to Gold Coast.

He would have been seen as a likely target for new franchise the Dolphins given his Redcliffe links, and has routinely been linked with other clubs.

But Cherry-Evans has always insisted he wanted to stay.

“I’m not going to be going anywhere. I’m not going to be a (free agent) at the end of this year,” he said last month.

“It’s a matter of time before we come up with something and something both parties are happy with.

“Because we’re both in agreeance I still have something to give, and they see that as well.”

The deal comes with Manly without a CEO, while fellow half Kieran Foran has also indicated his desire to play on and expecting to stay.