No timeline in Titans' Cherry-Evans chase
As the most in-demand off-contract player in the NRL Manly half Daly Cherry-Evans is holding all the aces but Titans coach Neil Henry conceded that the club would prefer a decision on a possible move to the Gold Coast in 2016 prior to the start of the season next month.
Following reports of a club-record offer being tabled to entice Cherry-Evans from Sydney's northern beaches to the Gold Coast, Henry confirmed that the club had been in discussions with the Test and Origin representative but that no formal offer had yet been made.
While the Rabbitohs have managed to secure the immediate future of their halves pairing in Adam Reynolds and Luke Keary prior to the 2015 season kicking off, the Sea Eagles are in a race against the clock to have both Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran signed up prior to Round 1.
News Limited papers reported that of the three clubs trying to convince Cherry-Evans to cut ties with Manly that the Titans were best positioned ahead of Parramatta and Cronulla.
His signature would help to restore faith in the future of a club currently in temporary training facilities and without a major sponsor but Henry said he had no expectation of when a decision might be reached.
"I'm not sure about the timeframe for his decision. The offers will get tabled and he'll make his decision," Henry told a large media contingent on Wednesday.
"We'd like a resolution to it but at the same time we've got our halves here that we need to move forward with as well. We're excited about Kane Elgey, Christian Hazard and Jamal Fogarty and the pairing of Daniel Mortimer and Aidan Sezer so we need to get on with our season but in the background we'll do some negotiations."
The aggressive move in the player market is a step in the right direction for the Titans who signed Dave Taylor from the Rabbitohs in 2013 and struggled to get full value for money out of Jamal Idris in the 2012-2013 seasons.
Born in Redcliffe north of Brisbane, Cherry-Evans first played for Manly in 2008 as a 19-year-old in the NYC competition and in 2009 was named on the bench in the under-20s team of the year.
Since making his NRL debut in Round 1, 2011, Cherry-Evans has played 104 games for the Sea Eagles and taken them to two grand finals and Henry has no doubt he is the ideal target for the Titans.
"He would be tremendous for us. He's certainly an experienced player now, he's got great leadership and he can get a team around the park," said Henry.
"He's certainly worth looking at, whether or not we can table an offer that his management are going to be happy with remains to be seen.
"[Talks] have been as encouraging as they can be. He's got a number of clubs interested in him and he's very settled at Manly anyway. Certainly he's had a great few years there and they've been a very successful team but whether or not they can retain him and Kieran Foran remains to be seen.
"Being a Queenslander and a State of Origin player, certainly the club would look at trying to move him up here."