Time to move on from DCE saga: Bennett
Broncos coach Wayne Bennett has urged the rugby league community to move on from the Daly Cherry-Evans contract saga now that the Manly halfback has committed his future to the club.
The NRL's worst kept secret finally came out on Wednesday morning when the 26-year-old back-flipped on a four-year deal to join the Gold Coast Titans, instead opting to remain with the Sea Eagles on a reported $10 million "lifetime" contract.
Cherry-Evans' decision left the Titans 'disillusioned' according to CEO Graham Annesley, with the Gold Coast understandably upset and disappointed that the Test and Origin playmaker didn't honour his original commitment to the club when he signed-on in March.
The drawn-out saga has prompted the NRL to scarp the controversial 'Round 13' rule, with a 10-day cooling-off period to be implemented from next season.
Refusing to delve into further detail about the situation, Bennett told an inquisitive media pack to refer to the comments he made in March when Cherry-Evans initially signed his Titans contract.
"It's an embarrassment to the game," Bennett said at the time.
"I think we've got to look across the world of sport and realise that most of them do [player transfers] a hell of a lot better than we do. It's an indictment on what we try and do as football clubs. The game on the field is nearly irrelevant it's all about off the field.
"It's pretty destabilising in the club, I can tell you."
Bennett insists now is the time to move on and focus on what 2014 Dally M Halfback of the Year can deliver on the playing field.
"I spoke about it [back in March] and spoke at length about it so I'm not going to go into it anymore," he said.
"It is what it is – it's not a great look. 'Cherry' says he's done nothing wrong.
"He's made his decision. He's moving on and I think the rest of us should too. Let's enjoy watching him play football because he's a good player and I'm pleased he's playing tomorrow night for the game's sake."
Sidelined by a shoulder injury that ruled him out of the opening State of Origin match, the Maroons utility has been cleared to return against the Broncos on Friday night.
"It'll be a relief for [Daly]," Bennett added.
"Football is what he does and when he's out on the field that's where he feels he should be.
"He'll play well [on Friday night]."
Brisbane head into Friday's clash second on the ladder but won't take the bottom-placed Sea Eagles lightly, now that they have a full-strength backline at their disposal with DCE's inclusion.
"It is a danger game. Their last four games have been great and they've had some close games obviously so their form is really good," Bennett said.
"It might not show on the table but it doesn't mean they aren't playing well and it looks like they'll play their best backline of the season [Friday] night.
"They've got all their stars playing… Kieran [Foran] is only playing his second game back from injury and they'll want to play well up here.
"[Brett] Stewart is such a wonderful player at fullback as well, they've got their halves and Jamie Lyon who I've always rated highly as a player so they've got plenty of talent."
The mastercoach has opted to rest 309-game veteran Corey Parker from the Sea Eagles clash, with his place taken by Sam Thaiday who returns from suspension.
Daniel Vidot retains his place on the wing in favour of Broncos' leading try-scorer Lachlan Maranta, with Bennett looking to exploit the hulking winger's metre-eating capabilities in the absence of Parker.
The 25-year-old made 196 metres, three tackle busts and one offload against the Raiders last weekend.
"We're in good shape and there are a couple of good players who aren't in the team this week as well," Bennett said.
"Having a lot of players fit and healthy gives me that flexibility to do what I've done."