DCE Desperate To Reignite Origin Career
Daly Cherry-Evans says he is "very disappointed" to have gone so close to an Origin recall then miss out, adding while he respects coach Kevin Walters decision he disagrees with it and will be doing everything he can to reignite his Origin career in 2018.
The in-form Manly skipper could have done little more to press his claims for the Maroons No.6 jersey left vacant by injuries to Johnathan Thurston and Anthony Milford, or potentially a bench utility role if incumbent Michael Morgan moves to the starting side to partner Cooper Cronk.
The third-placed Sea Eagles haven't lost since going down to Brisbane at Suncorp in Round 10 with Cherry-Evans the equal competition leader for try assists (15) and equal second for line-break assists (14).
"I understand the decision [but I'm] very disappointed personally," a forthright Cherry-Evans said from the club's Narrabeen training base on Tuesday.
"I knew through the injury to 'JT' there was an opportunity available. Over the past couple of weeks and throughout the year I've tried to put my best foot forward to get back into the Origin arena. It's not to be this series."
The 28-year-old said knowing there is no more Origin to be played this year will allow him to move on quickly and put his full focus into finishing the year strongly with Manly.
He also rejected reports that his exclusion may have been personal or a result of him not seeing eye-to-eye with senior figures in the Maroons camp.
"Definitely not, I certainly don't read into those sorts of comments. I was understanding that I had to continue to play well to be in calculations. That's certainly what I've been able to do which is off the back of my team's performances and my team's playing really well," he said.
"I just haven't got a chance and that's probably through personal preferences of the coaches and selectors. I haven't taken it personally, I'm understanding that they have big decisions to make."
The halfback said he could be content knowing he'd done everything he could to put himself back in the frame.
"When I walked away from last season I made it a personal goal to make sure I put myself back in contention for these sorts of sides. I feel like I've done that. It would have been nice to seal it off with a spot. It's not to be this time around," he said.
"I'm really happy with [my current form] to be honest, really happy with it. It's off the back of a really good forward pack, I'm enjoying my footy again."
Cherry-Evans also went out of his way to praise Walters for giving him a courtesy call the night before the team was announced to let him know he'd missed out, despite disagreeing with the coach's assessment of him as someone who was likely to be in the team as a halfback or not at all.
When he saw the incoming call from Walters on Sunday he knew even without answering it that it wasn't good news.
"I knew I wasn't in the side but it was really nice and really kind of him to give me the time of day. I haven't played in a side with Kevvie Walters [coaching] so I personally didn't expect him to call me," Cherry-Evans said.
"I thought that was very nice and respectful of him and as I said to him over the phone I was really appreciative of it.
"I expressed to Kevvie over the phone that while I didn't agree with his decision I definitely understand how hard it would have been for him to make that decision. I feel I'm ready to get back into that arena and I'll try my hardest to get back in there next year."
This article first appeared on NRL.com