Whether Dylan Walker plays in Manly's first NRL trial on Saturday is irrelevant to captain Daly Cherry-Evans.
Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler is due to name his squad on Tuesday for the game against the Sharks, which has been shifted to Shark Park after concerns over the quality of the Lottoland pitch.
Hasler has other concerns – whether to put Walker out on the field when he has his next court date over domestic violence charges just three days later.
But NRL.com understands Walker could be given game time against the Sharks regardless, as Hasler wants to test all combinations in both trial games. The Sea Eagles play the Roosters at Gosford on March 2.
Despite completely different circumstances and cases, the backlash against players and their treatment of women has been fierce in the shadow of the Jack de Belin sexual assault charges.
As far as Cherry-Evans is concerned, Walker's welfare is his priority.
"It's not for me to decide what happens there," Cherry-Evans said on Monday. "I just want to make sure, that as a mate, he's alright and his family is OK.
DCE: It's hard not to be excited about Des being back
"That's the important part in those situations, that everyone is happy and healthy."
The Manly Local Court appearance will be Walker's third as his case, dating back to early December, moves its way through the NSW legal system.
He has pleaded not guilty to two assault charges against his partner.
Walker was not available to the media on Monday during the club's open session.
Cherry-Evans said the 24-year-old centre had trained excellently throughout the pre-season.
We're rugby league players but we're human beings as wellManly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans
"As a rugby league player, you just want your footy to do the talking. And he's given himself the best opportunity to play good football this season by the way he's trained."
Cherry-Evans is no stranger to the media spotlight, which zeroed in on him during his contract saga involving the Titans in 2015.
He has some empathy for Walker and other players caught up in off-season behavioural incidents.
"We're rugby league players but we're human beings as well, and we do make mistakes like everyone else," he said.
"I've certainly made mistakes in my career that have been publicly scrutinised. That's part and parcel with being a rugby league player – the public scrutiny.
"I just hope people understand that we all make mistakes. I guess if they're [actions] determined to be bad then just like anyone else we'll be in trouble with the law."
Back to football and Cherry-Evans has been reunited with the coach who helped him win a premiership in his rookie season in 2011.
"Des has certainly got a lot of the same mannerisms ... attention to detail is still unbelievable," the Manly skipper said.
"I'm really enjoying every day and reviewing everything, previewing everything because he really does leave no stone unturned in your preparation.
"I feel I'm learning and growing as a person from all that. As long as there is improvement in the place on a full-squad level then I think that's going to lead to improved results on the field.
"He's been around a long time and always kept his squads competitive and at the top of the game."
Meanwhile, Cherry Evans looks set for a new No.6 for round one for the fourth year in a row.
DCE still proud of the game we have
In 2016 it was Walker. In 2017 it was Blake Green. In 2018 it was Lachlan Croker.
For 2019 he has been training with Trent Hodkinson and Gold Coast recruit Kane Elgey.
For the Sharks trial, he expects both players to be given game time.
"They've both trained really well but they're two completely different players. But they both bring something special," he said, adding Hasler had not sought his opinion on a starting five-eighth for the Telstra Premiership season.
"I think the trials will determine what comes for our No.6 jersey. I'd rather not have to give an opinion as I'm friends with both of them.
"Kane's speed and his ability to run the football I really like. When he does that at training it's very hard to stop.
"With Trent I love his control, cool, relaxed demeanour. He's the ice man. He can kick field goals, and kick goals and he's good with all that stuff.
"At some stage during this year I dare say we'd have to use both, so I hope they're both ready."