Manly skipper Daly Cherry-Evans says he considers Canberra rival Jarrod Croker a personal friend and plans to keep the friendly banter he launched at the Raiders captain at a tense stage of last Sunday's golden point win a permanent secret.
Despite losing two props to injury in the first half of the 21-20 loss last week, Canberra found a way to come from 20-6 behind to force golden point.
The key play came after the final siren; with Canberra still trailing 20-18, Manly winger Aku Uate was penalised from close to the touch line and about 20 metres. Croker aimed the after-the siren shot to force golden point and Cherry-Evans took it on himself to offer some friendly advice but it didn’t put Croker off as the kick swung back inside the posts.
Cherry-Evans – who eventually nailed the match-winning field goal in golden point – could afford to laugh about the whole thing when prompted by journalists at a Manly media session on Tuesday.
"Honestly, I consider Jarrod a friend. I've seen him outside of rugby league circumstances a few times and he's someone I get along with really well so what was said will hopefully never come out but it was just a bit of friendly banter," Cherry-Evans said.
"I gave him credit [after the game] for nailing such a high-pressure kick. Credit where credit's due."
Cherry-Evans' teammate Dylan Walker though was happy to speculate on what may have been discussed.
"He probably hit him with a vocabulary lesson or something like that. I'm not too sure!" Walker laughed.
"When it got close it got a little bit heated; I think Cherry was talking to him a little bit for that last kick just trying to get him to miss the kick."
Cherry-Evans was relieved to have got away with a win in similar circumstances to that in which they surrendered a lead in Brisbane just four weeks earlier.
"We did lose those sorts of games earlier in the year and even as recently as Brisbane we lost a game similar to that situation so while it wasn't perfect we won and that's an improvement from where we were a couple of weeks ago," Cherry-Evans said.
Walker agreed that the team is getting more resilient.
"I think in the past we would have let those games get past us and just the resilience we showed – Canberra can come out and score two tries in five minutes to win – is the most pleasing part," Walker said.