'I might be crazy enough': Cherry-Evans keen on coaching

Daly Cherry-Evans says he might have the requisite 'craziness' in him to follow Des 'the mad scientist' Hasler into the NRL coaching ranks when he eventually calls time on his playing career.

Cherry-Evans will lead Manly onto Leichhardt Oval against Wests Tigers on Saturday, Hasler's first game in charge of the club since an infamous exit at the end of 2011.

The 30-year-old halfback still has five seasons to run on the bumper $10 million, eight-year contract that Manly touted as a 'lifetime deal' back in 2015.

Rather than eyeing the exit, Cherry-Evans is talking the possibility of playing on past 35, or at least "getting myself to a point where I can weigh up my options about maybe playing on longer".

But when he does eventually put his maroon and white jumper in the rack, Cherry-Evans wouldn't mind following Hasler's lead and picking up the clipboard.

"You'd have to be absolutely crazy to be an NRL coach. But I might have a little bit of craziness in me," Cherry-Evans told NRL.com.

"I reckon I'd be up for it. I've not really ever coached at any level, juniors or anything.

Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans.
Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

"And there'd be so much I'd have to learn to become a coach, and right now I feel as though my focus just has to be on playing.

"But in the back of my mind, coaching certainly interests me when I move along from rugby league as a player."

For some time yet though all eyes will be on Hasler in the Manly coach's box, who Cherry-Evans notes hasn't lost a single luscious lock despite an ugly final 18 months at the Bulldogs.

With a nod to exactly what he could be getting himself in for, Cherry-Evans acknowledged that an unceremonious sacking simply "comes with the territory" of being a coach.

"Arguably they're the most disposable pieces in the game, and that's a real shame because there's a lot of good coaches and great people coaching in the NRL," he said.

Hasler has two Sea Eagles premierships and another three grand final appearances (2007 with Manly, 2012 and 2014 with Canterbury) to his name.

But Bulldogs fans will remember for some time the salary cap carnage of Hasler's ill-fated finish at Belmore, prompting Cherry-Evans to defend his coach's legacy, regardless of how his second stint with the Sea Eagles pans out.

"When you leave a mark in the history books, your mark will always be remembered," Cherry-Evans said.

"Des Hasler has done that at Manly. Regardless of anything that happens going forward he will always have a legacy and a history with the Sea Eagles.

Former Canterbury coach Des Hasler is back with Manly.
Former Canterbury coach Des Hasler is back with Manly. ©NRL Photos

"I'm sure, and I have no doubt whatsoever that he wants to add to that, but what he's already done here is certainly a lot more than what a lot of NRL coaches get to achieve ever."

Hasler will do so with a markedly different approach to his forwards, according to Cherry-Evans.

Bulldogs packs under Hasler were famed as some of the biggest ever assembled on the same teamsheet – with the likes of Sam Kasiano, Tony Williams, Frank Pritchard, Greg Eastwood and James Graham enjoying serious success during Hasler's early days at Canterbury.

Manly boast an all-international starting middle in Marty Taupau, Addin Fonua-Blake and Jake Trbojevic, who Hasler has been flogging all summer long according to Cherry-Evans in search of an edge up front.   

"I think he's realised he doesn't have the size he had with the Canterbury pack, which was to be honest, the size of their pack might never ever be reached again," Cherry-Evans said.

"It was ridiculous how large they were. The way they were able to get those players to their club all at once was pretty special.

"But what we've got at Manly is special in a completely different way. Physically we're not like that old pack that Des had at Canterbury.

"But I think we have far more natural ability when it comes to playing footy.

"You only have to watch the way Addin, Marty and Jake get around the footy field to know what they're capable of.

"They're our three leaders in the forwards and Des has worked them extremely hard this year so I'm looking forward to that paying off for them."