Dan Walsh, Staff Writer
Daly Cherry-Evans has set Queensland hearts at ease, confident the knee injury he aggravated in Manly's impressive 32-10 defeat of the Bulldogs will not rule him out of Origin II in twelve days' time.
The Sea Eagles halfback left the field four minutes into the second half after he was taken out in the air by Bulldogs prop Sam Kasiano. He will be sent for scans after he spent the remainder of the match icing the same left knee that he injured in the brutal series opener, which also ruled him out of last week's loss to the Broncos.
But after the match Cherry-Evans was positive about his chances of being fit to fill the Maroons' No.7 jumper as Mal Meninga's men aim to square the series at ANZ Stadium.
"I'm confident it'll be right," Cherry-Evans said.
"It took a bit of a bump but I think with a bit of recovery and a few days it'll be good.
"I'll rest up and take it easy, and should be sweet."
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Manly coach Geoff Toovey was similarly positive about his star halfback's prognosis, which threatened to sour what was otherwise a satisfying night for the Sea Eagles as they returned to the winner's circle in emphatic fashion.
"[Cherry-Evans] hasn't done any more damage but he's just inflamed it a little bit more and it's a little bit sorer than it was pre-match," said Toovey.
"But there's no damage or anything, so hopefully it will settle down in a few days and he'll be right to play.
"Our doctor's have assessed it and our physios have assessed it and they said there's no more damage."
The Manly coach was adamant the challenge from Kasiano, which was placed on report, was illegal, but refused to comment further on the ugly 44th minute incident.
Toovey also confirmed there was little concern for captain Jamie Lyon, who left the field late in the match with a hamstring strain that should not see him miss any game time for the Sea Eagles.
The five tries to two victory brings Manly level with the Bulldogs on 18 competition points at the top of the ladder, though after the match Toovey said he wasn't completely happy with the outcome, claiming the Bulldogs had illegally slowed down the ruck without sanction from referees Gerard Sutton and Gavin Morris.
"(NRL Referee's boss) Tony Archer's got some work to do," said Toovey.
"You talk about the ruck, they just wrestled the hell out of us and no-one did anything about it.
"It's something that they said they were going to clean up during the year, but tonight I thought it was particularly slow."
Manly will now enjoy their second bye in the space of a month before taking on the Sharks in Round 15, with NSW reserve Anthony Watmough and Cherry-Evans again under the pump to return just 72 hours after an Origin clash.