Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans.

Daly Cherry-Evans had just got over a stomach bug but might have caught a bad head cold as the Manly Sea Eagles slugged out a full session in the cold and wet on Tuesday morning at their North Narrabeen training headquarters.

"Yes, it was freezing but I just had 15 minutes under a hot shower so I'm fine," the Manly skipper said.

In hindsight the session in the dismal conditions could prepare Des Hasler's men for Friday night's elimination semi-final against South Sydney at ANZ Stadium.

"By the sounds of it, that could be good preparation if this rain hangs around until Friday night – not a bad thing to get a run in the wet," he said.

A dry track would better suit Manly's style of play.

"But if it is raining ANZ Stadium is renowned for being a little slippery under foot. We definitely have to take that into consideration but we don't want to turn it into an absolute slug-fest," Cherry-Evans said.

"We've got strike across the park so we need to play to our strengths – just within reason."

Manly also need Cherry-Evans in tip-top condition after his dazzling display in the 28-16 win over the Sharks in finals week one, which included two try assists, two line-break assists and seven tackle breaks.

Certainly he is the incumbent Test half, the captain of both Manly and Queensland so he's expected to be able to pull something out of the proverbial hat.

"I watch a lot of footy so I understand the pressure people put on the halfbacks across all the sides in the finals.

"When you win, you get praised and when you don't you bear the other side of it. That's OK with me. I've got a lot of experience now and I've got a lot of clarity going into games.

"It excites me. It's finals footy – it's where you want to be.

"I'm always nice and clear on what my role is and how I get the best out of myself and help my teammates.

"I understand externally the stakes are higher and it's going to be built up because it's finals footy, but as for me I go in clear and focused on what I've got to do.

"I know if I do that properly then it's going to go a long way to helping us win."

Cherry-Evans hasn't played at ANZ since the second week in July when the Maroons lost the Origin decider 26-20, and then Manly lost 21-20 at the same ground in round 17 just a few days later.

"That was a tough week…. a very emotional four days with back-to-back losses," he said.

"I'm not daunted by it. It's part of footy and they are experiences you never forget and there are lessons out of both those games I'll never forget.

"Hopefully I'm a little bit wiser, a little smarter from all of that and I'll show it this weekend."

Care to share what you learnt?

"You'll have to wait and see."

It is also Manly's first appearance in the second week of NRL finals since 2014. Their last premiership win was in 2011, and Cherry-Evans is the only survivor from either of those sides.

The Geoff Toovey-coached side made the grand final in 2013 (losing to the Roosters) and then fell in the second week of the finals in 2014 – to the Des Hasler-coached Bulldogs side 18-17.

"It's definitely a little ironic but it's just so far gone now," said Cherry-Evans thinking back to that game five years ago, where he tried to outwit Hasler's tactics.

"It was obviously a great experience – not ideal losing in week two of the finals – but to be playing in finals in rugby league is unreal.

"Hopefully we flip the script and we're going deeper than week two, which is the farthest we've gone in a while."

 

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