Manly coach Geoff Toovey said he remains hopeful of keeping his star five-eighth Kieran Foran following news halfback Daly Cherry-Evans will join the Gold Coast Titans.
Toovey confirmed Cherry-Evans' departure following his side's thumping 42-12 loss at Parramatta, adding he hadn't been aware of the finalising of the four-year deal prior to the match.
"He just announced that [he was leaving the club] to the boys after the game. It's disappointing. At least he's got his future settled and we can get on with playing some good football," Toovey said.
"They [the players] were very disappointed obviously. It gives some clarity around the matter and we can move forward.
"He just wanted to make sure the players knew before it got out there. That's the type of bloke he really is, he didn't want to fuss about it, he made sure he told his teammates first, he wanted them to understand his decision and to hear it from his mouth first.
"He obviously had a great weight on his shoulders and he'll continue to play some great football for us throughout the year.
"He's very focused on his football, so I think he'll bust his gut to really [prove] himself to the playing group and make sure he leaves with a trophy in his hand."
Toovey said the news didn't make it any more vital to retain Foran, but admitted it would be "very disruptive" to lose both halves.
"We'll be doing our best like we did with Cherry to make sure he remains a Manly player and continues to grow his game," Toovey said.
He hadn't lost his sense of humour though; asked when he would like to see Foran locked in at the club he retorted "last month!"
Fullback Brett Stewart said it was "a big loss" for the team and the club. He said it would be "shattering" to lose both Cherry-Evans and Foran but remained hopeful the club could hang on to the latter.
Stewart insisted the ongoing speculation over the playmaker's future hadn't unsettled the club despite the score line at Pirtek Stadium.
"We're all professionals. We need to put that to the side when those sort of things come. When you're out there playing you just focus on footy," he said.