Cherry-Evans now dreaming of success in different shade of maroon
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Cherry-Evans now dreaming of success in different shade of maroon

One of the few remaining items on Daly Cherry-Evans' rugby league bucket list is to lift another trophy, just as he did for Queensland on Wednesday night, but this time wearing Manly's shade of maroon.

And Cherry-Evans believes there is no reason 2021 cannot be the year of the Sea Eagle, especially when he reunites with his good mate Kieran Foran, who was pictured in the club's strip for the first time since 2015 this week.

While all the talk after Queensland's miraculous win over NSW was about Cameron Munster, Wayne Bennett and Harry Grant, Cherry-Evans took great personal satisfaction out of his first series win as starting halfback and captain.

Now he knows similar glory can be enjoyed on the northern beaches, a decade after he celebrated premiership success as a fresh-faced rookie.

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"There are still things I want to tick off as a player," Cherry-Evans told The Sun-Herald. "It's not until you become a captain you dream about moments like Wednesday, lifting the shield. I've been captain at Manly now for three years and that goal is to be a premiership-winning captain at Manly.

"I'd also love to be involved with the Australian side moving forward, and if the opportunity ever popped up to captain the Kangaroos, that would be special.

Maroons half and skipper Daly Cherry-Evans celebrates the series win.

Maroons half and skipper Daly Cherry-Evans celebrates the series win.Credit:Getty

"Captaining Australia and captaining Manly to a premiership are two things high up on my list."

Cherry-Evans and Foran reuniting for the first time since 2015, with the duo forming arguably the most-experienced halves pairing in the competition.

Should Tom Trbojevic – and Foran – remain fit and his brother Jake maintains his own lofty standards, the Sea Eagles will win a lot more than they lose.

"I saw 'Foz' in Manly colours the other day and it definitely got me excited to see him back in the maroon," Cherry-Evans said.

"I won't be back until after Christmas but I'll be popping my head in to see all the boys and re-connecting with Kieran. He will help us become a bit more of a balanced side.

"I believe we're in that premiership window. There isn't a year where we've started and I've thought, 'we're not a chance this year'.

"I like our roster, I like our coach, a lot of things go into a premiership season, but we've got all the right ingredients at the club."

Cherry-Evans led the fight for the players in their pay dispute with the NRL when COVID shut down the competition. Like every other player he sacrificed precious family time.

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On Friday night, Cherry-Evans enjoyed watching his eldest daughter play touch football, a simple pleasure made off-limits to him all season.

The hardest moment for Cherry-Evans, he said, was after Origin II at Suncorp Stadium when he was unable to cuddle his wife Vessa and three young daughters at ANZ Stadium because he had to rush back on a plane to the Gold Coast.

"I love footy so much, but now I'm out of the bubble, it's time for me to let my guard down and spend time as a father the next six weeks," Cherry-Evans said.

"Everyone in the NRL sacrificed so much this year. As a father of three kids, I've missed out on a lot as a dad. I just can't wait to be there for them now.

"The hardest part was seeing the girls after games one and two and not being able to touch them. It nearly broke me after we lost in Sydney. To be down and out and then see your daughters tear-eyed and not understanding why they can't comfort dad, that was the hardest part of it all."

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