Manly Warringah NRL star Daly Cherry-Evans has broken his contract to play with the Gold Coast Titans in 2016, for a rumoured $10 million deal with his current club, the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles — by far the most lucrative deal in the game’s history.
CEO of the club Joe Kelly said at a media conference today: “It gives me great pleasure to announce we have retained our halfback Daly Cherry-Evans with a lifetime offer at the club.”
“As long as Daly is playing NRL football he’ll be here at (Manly)”.
Cherry-Evans said the opportunity to stay with Manly and be a “one-club player” was too “enticing”.
“In rugby league, job security isn’t something that happens very often… now that I have it in writing I will be at the club until I retire – that is what made me stay.”
He admitted “it probably doesn’t look very honorable” but it was the right decision for him and his family.
“They (the Titans) have the right to be angry with me, but that’s something I can live with.
“I haven’t broken any rules, I’ve played within the rules”.
Cherry-Evans was expected to sign a four-year, multi-million dollar deal with the Titans after the Queensland club offered in March.
Four weeks later it emerged Manly also offered him a deal to stay.
The tug-of-war between the two clubs has been a significant factor in the NRL’s decision to overturn a round 13 deadline for 2016 contracts, which ends next Wednesday.
The rule will now be changed to a cooling-off period of 10 working days.
“I think everyone agrees it is unseemly to have months of speculation about whether a player is going to a rival club,” NRL head of football Todd Greenberg told The Australian.
The announcement will come as a shock to Titans CEO Graham Annesley who late last night told Fairfax that he was confident that Cherry-Evans would stand by his word.
“We’ve got no reason to believe anything has changed. Daly hasn’t said anything to indicate anything has changed,” he said.
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