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Sea Eagles halfback Daly Cherry-Evans.

Just 48 hours after one of the most demoralising losses of his career in State of Origin I, Manly skipper Daly Cherry-Evans produced a true captain's knock as he bounced back to guide the Sea Eagles to a huge win over the Cowboys.

From the wrong side of 50-6 in Townsville to orchestrating a 50-18 win at 4 Pines Park, Cherry-Evans rode the highs and lows of rugby league in the space two days and admitted the Origin loss took some processing.

"The last 48 hours have been crazy," Cherry-Evans said.

"It was really comforting coming back here, seeing all the familiar faces of teammates and coaching staff and doing what we do. It was really fun.

"Everyone's different. For me, the way I process things is – the first 24 hours was mentally processing it and emotionally and that was pretty hard coming home. Flying down and reality sinking in that we'd just been carved up.

"But waking up [Friday] morning I was really excited to come back. Like I said, familiar faces and familiar surroundings.

Match Highlights: Sea Eagles v Cowboys

"After speaking to the boys I was really confident they'd had a good week at training so it was great to come back in and play that support role because the boys played so well through the middle.

"As I've got a bit older I've learned to deal with my responsibility in a loss. There are parts that I was involved in that I'm not proud of from Wednesday night and those things stick with you.

"The best thing to move on was to change my focus to this game and I'm really lucky it was 48 hours later because it was enough time for me to deal with what happened Wednesday then refocus."

Purely from a club point of view, DCE was hopeful the performance may help erode the stigma of the Sea Eagles as a one-man team given they were able to rack up 50 without superstar fullback Tom Trbojevic.

"There's a bit of a stigma around that we're not a team without Tom so I don't know what more you guys need from us but this was a good night in trying to shake that tag," he laughed.

"We're a better side with Tom in it make no mistake, anyone who watched Wednesday night knows how good Tom is and we've been crowing about it for a while now, but we've built really nicely and put ourselves in a position that when Tom's out we're a bit clearer on how we can play and support each other and tonight was a good example of that.

Daly Cherry-Evans struggles to come to grips with the Maroons' loss in Origin I.
Daly Cherry-Evans struggles to come to grips with the Maroons' loss in Origin I. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

"We've had a fair bit of time to deal with it all and process what it looks like when Tom's not playing.

"There's a lot that's happened in and around that both from a coaching point of view and player point of view that we're really clear on how we play and no-one will replace Tom and Tom's an important part of our team but we can't – if Tom's not playing no-one can be Tom."

Cherry-Evans said the fact that the Trbojevic brothers were such good sports made it easy rejoining forces for the Sea Eagles after having been towelled up by the pair – and Tom in particular – just two days earlier.

"Honestly we've played a lot of footy together and built a pretty good friendship," he said.

"They're really good winners as you can probably tell from Jake and Tom what the Trbojevic family are like so I always admire whether I've won or they've won, I like to think we're really respectful around each other.

DCE provides Parker with his second

"We're extremely competitive but we do have more respect for each other than what people might think from a Queensland and NSW point of view."

From the Maroons point of view, it was now important players head back to their clubs and put in strong performances ahead of game two, with just two club games at most between Origins I and II for players backing up this weekend.

"It's one-nil in the series, we can't change what's happened so the only thing we can do right now is play good footy for our clubs," Cherry-Evans said.

"The 17 players that get picked for the next game, anyone who got to play in the first game is going to be extremely motivated and hopefully will bring better form in and we can show a bit better connectivity.

"We were disconnected the other night and I think that motivation will bring us together in the next camp."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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