Daly Cherry-Evans says he understands the ARL's decision to withdraw from the World Cup being based on player safety and welfare but was disappointed he wouldn't have the chance to play at season's end.
Cherry-Evans, general president of the RLPA, believes a number of players were still keen to go to the World Cup with a decision expected in the coming days as to whether the tournament will proceed without the Kangaroos and Kiwis.
“Not participating in this year’s World Cup is not a decision the Commission has taken lightly, but we must put the best interests of our players and officials first. Protecting them is our absolute priority,’’ said ARLC chairman Peter V’landys in a letter addressed to IRL chairman Troy Grant on Wednesday.
"In the current environment, the risks to the safety, health and well-being of the players and officials travelling from Australia to participate in the tournament this year are insurmountable."
Cherry-Evans returned from a post-Origin rest to lead Manly to a 44-24 win over the Wests Tigers on Saturday night.
"Of course we would have loved to have been given a bit more of a heads-up on it but we do understand the game's acting with the best interests (of the players) at heart.
Match Highlights: Sea Eagles v Wests Tigers
"But there definitely is an element of disappointment for sure. It's a World Cup and I'm not getting any younger, so it would have been nice to be involved."
Cherry-Evans is the incumbent Kangaroos halfback playing in Australia's last Test back in November 2019 against Tonga.
"Like everyone who was hoping to get picked, there's definitely a bit of disappointment but there's nothing we can do about it now," he said.
"The game's made the decision based on player safety and welfare.
"As much as we'd all love to play for Australia and the guys would love to play for New Zealand, it's just not going to be this year.
"While at first I'm disappointed, there's no point in dropping our lip and complaining over it, we've just got to get on with it.
"I know I've got my fingers crossed that they might postpone it but it doesn't look like it."
The Maroons playmaker said it would be strange to watch on if the competition went ahead without the Aussies and Kiwis.
"It's definitely going to be a weird spectacle if Australia and New Zealand aren't in it," he said.
DCE gets a double of his own when he steps off the right and goes himself
"I can completely understand if they're going to continue the competition. I wouldn't begrudge the people who are making those decisions to continue on, because there's a lot more at stake than just Australia and New Zealand.
"But it would be weird to sit there and watch it and not see Australia and New Zealand involved.
"But COVID times have made for some really weird changes in the last 18 months so this is just another little weird experience we've got to go through."