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Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans has revealed a new head coach for the Sea Eagles could be the “fresh start” his side needs to turn around their fortunes in 2023.

Cherry-Evans, who was informed of Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler’s employment termination while fulfilling World Cup duties in England, said changes to the club's coaching staff could ignite a new beginning for Manly.

Busy steering the green and gold men to an impressive 42-8 win over Fiji in England on Sunday, the veteran halfback admitted it "has been nice to be a little bit detached" from the situation unfolding on Sydney's Northern Beaches but is prepared to embrace the club's changes.

Match Highlights: Australia v Fiji

“As it was developing it was always looking like it was going to end badly so it’s disappointing to see Des go because I’ve got a great relationship with him,” Cherry-Evans told the media following Australia’s win over Fiji on Sunday.

“The club’s chosen a decision to move forward and it’s time to be excited about what’s coming in even though we’re not quite sure what that looks like yet.

“It's going to be a completely fresh start for the playing group and I’m pretty sure we’ll all be looking forward to getting in there and rectifying what was a pretty poor year last year.”

The Sea Eagles seemingly struggled to recover from adversity faced throughout the 2022 season and finished the year with a disappointing seven straight losses, ending the year in 11th after coming just one game short of a grand final last year.

But the one-club playmaker believes the appointment of a new head coach could help Manly launch “a new era at the club" and reclaim their position as finals contenders.

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“I definitely think the end of the season was a blessing. We didn’t look like we were winning any games anytime soon and I think we needed the break,” Cherry-Evans said.

“In that season, we just couldn’t get out of the rut but we need to get back to finals-style footy again.

“We all needed a holiday and when we come back, we’re going to have a new coach and new coaching staff and that’s exactly what we need to kickstart a new campaign and a new era at the club.

"The stuff off-field at the moment, it’s not ideal but these things obviously get a bit more traction when you’re not winning footy games so the priority for us has to be to get back out there and play some good footy."

The 33-year-old's commitment to the maroon and white jersey remains unquestioned, but the 283-game veteran has also backed his Kangaroos teammate Jake Trbojevic to see out his contract in the northern district, despite reported concerns.

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“I haven’t spoken to Jake about it, he isn’t really someone who likes to open up on these sorts of things,” Cherry-Evans said.

“But I know how passionate he is about the club and anyone who is passionate about the club has had a hard week because we care about the place and want to see it do well.

“I value Jake as a teammate, I love him in the team and I can’t imagine not playing footy with him."

The only remaining member of the Manly side that Hasler guided to victory in the 2011 grand final, Cherry-Evans said he has been in contact with the coach who handed him his NRL debut 11 years ago, and was thankful for the role he'd played in his career.

Cherry-Evans and Des Hasler following Manly's 24-10 Grand Final win over the Warriors in 2011.
Cherry-Evans and Des Hasler following Manly's 24-10 Grand Final win over the Warriors in 2011. ©NRL Photos

“I never felt as though Des wasn’t going to be the coach next year but these things happen, it’s rugby league,” he said.

“I’m just a player so I’m not sure how they handle business like that; I’ve never had to handle it but it obviously wasn’t ideal to see a club that I care about spoken about so poorly.

“Des has had a big impact on my footy career so I definitely felt the courtesy to send him a message and I’m sure he is someone I’ll stay in contact for a long time with.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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