DCE desperate to keep Manly under the radar
MANLY skipper Daly Cherry-Evans called an impromptu team meeting in a desperate bid to dismiss the increasing hype around his side's premierships chances.
It seems the Sea Eagles are attempting to stay under the radar yet again.
Manly coach Des Hasler is notorious for playing down his side's chances - a tactic now employed by Cherry-Evans
Told Manly couldn't stay under the radar any longer, Cherry-Evans said: "We'll find a way."
A shock 11-10 golden point win over Melbourne at AAMI Park last weekend saw bookies slash Manly's odds into $10 to win this season's grand final.
This from a side that few, if any, believed would reach the finals.
"I actually addressed the players just then about not listening to the external noise. That sort of stuff can quite quickly de-rail teams," Cherry-Evans said.
"It can distract individuals and take away from what you're trying to achieve.
"Looking too far ahead is never a good thing in rugby league.
"That sort of win wasn't a surprise to me. I have always had a lot of belief in the team and where we can go this year.
"Maybe everyone else is starting to see that now but we will just try and keep our heads down and keep winning footy games."
Cherry-Evans even suggested ways to diminish Manly's fanfare.
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"You've got to enjoy it -.it's a community getting behind their team and that's fantastic to see," he said.
"I never want this team to stop enjoying that because it's important to the community that the Sea Eagles are doing well. But once you acknowledge it you put it to the back of your head and move on.
"Everyone plays to play finals football. That's why we play. The goal every year is to play in the grand final and to be that last team standing.
"Wins like that (over Melbourne) slowly but surely build belief and (add to the) vibe around the place You've got to savour those moments but it's the NRL, you have move on quickly but next week's opposition don't really care about that (win)."
Cherry-Evans said he wanted to follow Hasler's lead and avoid increasing chatter about his side's burgeoning premiership chances.
"Have you seen who our coach is?" he said.
"You've got to make sure you focus on the task at hand and for us that's Newcastle (at Brookvale this Saturday).
"We're well aware of what is going on outside of these four walls."
Manly sit in fifth place but know they must somehow secure a top-four position to have a genuine crack at this year's title.
While the Sea Eagles have a tough run to finish, fans and bookmakers are quickly uniting in believing Hasler's team can give this premiership an almighty nudge.
"It's about managing our expectations," said Manly prop Marty Taupau.