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Anthony Watmough says Manly should consider letting Daly Cherry-Evans join Titans this season

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Former Manly forward Anthony Watmough believes the Sea Eagles should consider releasing Gold Coast-bound halfback Daly Cherry-Evans to the Titans immediately if he was prepared to leave.

Watmough, who left Manly with a year remaining on his contract after initially signing with Parramatta from 2016, said he would want to make the move as soon as possible if he was in Cherry-Evans’ shoes after the Test halfback confirmed to teammates in the dressing rooms at Pirtek Stadium last Friday night that he had signed a four-year deal with the Titans.

“If that was me and I had made my decision to leave, and that opportunity came up … I would take it,” Watmough said.

“It is a horrible loss for Manly but for rugby league up on the Gold Coast [to sign] the face of the game it is probably the best move they could have done. DCE the brand is probably a great thing for them up there. For me, I think the Gold Coast needed it after what they have been through.”

Titans coach Neil Henry said the club hadn’t discussed trying to secure the services of Cherry-Evans this season but would be open to the idea of him moving to the Gold Coast a year earlier.

“Putting my coach’s hat on I would like to have him in my team for this year,” Henry told Triple M. “There is a possibility but you would have to have players if we were going to trade some players who would be willing to go so a lot of things would have to happen plus we would have to look at the salary cap implications.

Cherry-Evans’ decision has caused a lot of angst at Manly as the previous club management had allowed Glenn Stewart to depart without tabling a new offer and released Watmough to focus on retaining their star halves pairing of Cherry-Evans and Keiran Foran.

“I spoke to Glenn Stewart when this happened [last year] and before he got injured and done his ankle, [and] he wanted one last year with the boys,” Watmough said. “He didn’t want to leave Manly, he had to leave Manly, whereas I think Cherry has made a decision to leave on his own and if they can work something out he may want to go or he may not but if it is there, put the offer to him.”

With Foran widely tipped to fnalise a deal with Parramatta within days, Watmough said recruitment and retention had been badly managed at the Sea Eagles.

Speaking at length about the issue on Triple M, he also took aim at Cherry-Evans’ management for the public hawking of their client before the announcement, after Friday night’s 42-12 thumping by the Eels.

“I think ‘Ches’ was mismanaged a bit there, he was shopped around, he was thrown to the wolves, he got hung out there,” Watmough said. “I know he has copped a bit of a hiding and I know if my manager had done that I would have called him straight in for a meeting.”

Asked about Manly’s decision not to make Stewart an offer, Watmough said: “I think that came down to the old board. I think if it had just been the Penn family, which it is now, it would have been handled totally different.”

That decision led to Watmough leaving and now Foran is set to follow but the Test secondrower insisted he did not know if he had signed with the Eels.

“Foz is a good mate of mine, we have played a lot of footy together but we don’t talk shop and we won’t talk shop away from footy,” he said. “I have said to him the whole time, like his team-mates have said to him, do the right thing that is best for you and your footy and your family. If it is at Manly or if it is at the Roosters, or wherever it is, we will still be your mates so do the right thing for you.”  

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