Manly Sea Eagles five-eighth Lachlan Croker is brimming with confidence as he prepares for his first match at his new club due to the influence of Daly Cherry-Evans.
He is set to get a crack at the Telstra Premiership this year after converting from the Canberra Raiders where he made his debut in round 2 of the 2016 season but never again appeared at NRL level.
With Manly’s veteran playmaker Blake Green moving across the ditch to the Warriors, there is a position vacant in the Sea Eagles halves.
The 21-year-old told NRL.com he was determined to show his stripes by not merely being a replacement for Green but making his own mark on the five-eighth position.
“I feel like I can’t fill his boots but I can do my job for the team,” he said.
“It is overwhelming but I know what I have to do and they know what they want from me, so that makes it easy.”
Throughout pre-season, the young gun has been working closely with Cherry-Evans to develop his game and get their combination right heading into the season.
Croker said he had benefited from the experience and knowledge of Cherry-Evans.
“I’ve spoken to him a lot and asked a lot of questions. I don’t think there is a better bloke you can base, not your game but the way you go about it around,” he said.
“He’s done a lot, he’s been through a lot of scrutiny and he’s come out the other side of it unbelievably well and he is playing incredibly good football. Having him around makes me feel more comfortable because I know he’s going to be there for me.”
Cherry-Evans told NRL.com that Croker had made a promising start to his tenure at the club but still had a long way to go.
"He's received a lot of good raps in training but there's nothing set in stone in regards to round one,” he said.
"I'm led to believe he'll get a crack in this weekend's trial and I'm really looking forward to seeing how he plays.
"There's certainly no pressure or expectation on him from his teammates. I'd just like to see him get another chance of playing first-grade footy.
Croker said coach Trent Barrett had shown plenty of faith by preferring him to Jackson Hastings for the five-eighth’s role in this Saturday’s trial against the Sydney Roosters at Gosford and was keen to repay that vote of confidence.