Trent Barrett says the Manly salary cap drama has been draining on him and the players.Manly coach Trent Barrett admits he and captain Daly Cherry-Evans were left drained by the salary cap scandal at the club in the lead up to Saturday’s win over Canberra.
The Sea Eagles’ salary cap cloud is set to hang over the club for even longer, after management confirmed last week they would challenge the NRL’s findings, $750,000 fine and cap reductions for the next two years.
But while Barrett said it was easy to make sure the matter didn’t take over the squad in the lead up to the round four clash, he and Cherry-Evans had definitely been affected.
“There’s a lot of young players in there they don’t worry about too much at all,” Barrett said.
“Probably more taxing on Chez and myself a little bit. It was tiring, I was tired, midway through the week and I know Cherry was certainly fairly drained with it all.
“It won’t affect us, the way we play. It’s got repercussions elsewhere in terms of your recruitment and what we can and can’t do but that’s not the players’ responsibility.
“The only right of reply that I’ve got and the players have got is to play well and that’s what we did.”
Cherry-Evans also admitted the matter had at times played on his mind during the week, after it was reported his 2015 “lifetime” deal was a significant point of concern for the NRL.
There was no suggestion of any wrongdoing by the halfback or any player, and he proclaimed his innocence earlier in the week after also revealing he’d put his hand up to be interviewed as part of the NRL’s investigation.
But considering Manly have been through match-fixing allegations, Des Hasler’s departure, Geoff Toovey’s sacking and his own contract dramas during his eight years at Manly, it was telling that he believed the scandal was the biggest he’d endured at the club.
“I’ve pleaded my innocence through it all and spoken as much as I possibly needed to to hopefully clear the air about where I stand on it all,” Cherry-Evans said.
“It’s not nice when your name’s attached to something like that. I certainly wasn’t surprised they somehow found a way to put my name in front of it.
“I try not to take my work home with me as well. But when you’re sitting in the car on the way home from training or whatever you let your mind wander and those things do pop up.”
However, he said Saturday’s win over Canberra said plenty about his side’s spirit.
“It’s hard not to think about those things because (the club’s) a place that we all care about,” the No.7 said.
“We take a lot of pride in our performance and the club that we play for. I thought that was a good reflection tonight of how we feel about the place.”