Sea Eagles defend Barrett
Sea Eagles captain Daly Cherry-Evans says the criticism towards head coach Trent Barrett is unwarranted, as Manly look to turn things around when they take on an injury-ravaged North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville on Saturday night.
The former Queensland utility said the sides' poor run of seven-straight losses since the end last season was not the fault of Barrett, and believes coaches are made to be the scapegoats for poor results, when the players themselves should be held more accountable.
"It is something that has snowballed in rugby league, the coaches’ hot seat. I just can’t comprehend why the coaches are under so much scrutiny in the game," Cherry-Evans said.
"I find it pretty comical. I know it is someone’s job on the line but it is outrageous to think that it is even a possibility after two rounds. It is not even a topic of conversation in the dressing rooms.
"I can’t think of any of the 16 coaches that wouldn’t be preparing their side the best they possibly can every week.
"After that it is up to the 17 players to go out there and get a win for them. If players aren’t delivering for a coach, I feel it a bit unfair for a coach to be on the hot seat.
"It is rugby league, it doesn’t make it right or wrong, but that’s exactly what has happened right now.
"He (Barrett) has got my support. I don’t think there is much more I can really do or add to it to stop it.
"No one should feel under pressure as it is only Round 2."
With the addition of several new players including Cherry-Evans' halves partner Blake Green, and the departures of senior club legends Brett Stewart, Jamie Lyon and Steve Matai, the premiership-winning halfback said it was unfair to bring the side's 2016 performance into the equation.
"This is a new year and we have got a lot of new faces," he said.
"Last year I feel is so irrelevant to this year… it doesn’t flow into one."
Sea Eagles teammate Brenton Lawrence was equally as confused as Cherry-Evans over the external pressure placed on Barrett so early on in the season.
"It must come from people who are not in the same position or have never been in a similar position," Lawrence said.
"Some of the things that have been said have probably come from people who have no idea of what they are talking about.
"We are the players who carry the ball, drop the ball, make the tackles, and miss the tackles.
"Trent Barrett is probably the most dedicated person I have seen in rugby league.
"He has given his heart and soul to the squad, and to this club.
"I’m certainly sticking by him.
"I feel myself as a squad, we have probably let him down over the first two rounds.
"Plenty of sides have turned it around and have gone on to have a successful season."
The Sea Eagles head into their Round 3 clash with former Warrior Shaun Lane returning on the bench in an otherwise unchanged line-up, while the high-flying Cowboys have named their replacements for injured trio Matt Scott (knee), Lachlan Coote (calf) and Antonio Winterstein (arm) with Newcastle-bound Kalyn Ponga named at fullback and Javid Bowen on the wing.