Daly Cherry-Evans, Kieran Foran on their Manly Sea Eagles reunion


Cherry-Evans cringed this week when reminded about the Instagram snap.

“Manly’s favourite son? That’s right. But Foz [Foran] has got a bit more competition now with Jake and Tom [Trbojevic] there,” Cherry-Evans said.

“I know Foz has been welcomed back by the playing group and the fans will get behind him as well because they’re loyal to successful teams and successful players, and Foz is one of those.”

There have been a fair few owners of the Manly No.6 jersey since Foran played his last game with Cherry-Evans against Cronulla at the end of 2015.

It is almost 10 years since they helped deliver Manly’s last title.

Cherry-Evans has huge respect for the five-eighths that have come and gone since, but it’s clear how grateful he is to have his “partner in crime” back. It’s a reunion he never thought would happen.

“I thought that ship had sailed,” Cherry-Evans said. “The best way to describe it now is nostalgic. It’s really taken me back to some really successful times and special moments at the club.

“Our relationship has picked up where it was. Sure, we’re not the same people we were 10 years ago, but we have a lot in common when it comes to where we are in life and our goals and excitement levels for this squad.”

Foran landed back at Manly late last year after Canterbury decided not to re-sign the 213-game veteran. The 30-year-old had struggled with injuries and was desperate to repay the Belmore club for standing by him. But the Bulldogs are taking a different direction under new coach Trent Barrett.

There was speculation about Foran heading to Newcastle to join good friend Mitchell Pearce. He was due to be at Pearce’s wedding, which was cancelled late last month after the Knights half was alleged to have sent suggestive text messages to another woman.

‘The best way to describe it now is nostalgic. It’s really taken me back to some really successful times and special moments at the club.’

Cherry-Evans on reuniting with Foran

But rugby league romantics wanted Foran to return to Manly; back where it began with Cherry-Evans and master Manly mentor Des Hasler.

Former Bulldogs coach Hasler splashed the cash to get Foran to Canterbury and is a fan of his old-school, no-nonsense approach to the game. Cherry-Evans won’t admit it, but he also played a pivotal role in making sure Foran pulled on the maroon and white again.

After a few weeks on the training paddock, the duo say it feels like they have never been apart. The only thing that has changed is their appetite to win a premiership, which is greater than ever.

“One thing that still exists between us when we’re the No.6 and No.7 is we don’t care which side of the ruck the ball has to go to, as long as it goes the right way,” Cherry-Evans said.

“We never cared who got the credit, as long as the team was winning. That’s all that mattered, and it’s still the same.”

Kieran Foran and Daly Cherry-Evans at pre-season training with Manly.

Foran says of Cherry-Evans: “When ‘Chez’ came back after Christmas, I remember looking over and seeing him on the right-hand side of the field and doing his thing.

“To think all those years ago we were running around as 20- and 21-year-olds, now we’re in our 30s and playing alongside each other and living the dream.

“We’ve got so much more experience now, life experience. We’ve been through our fair share, and it’s a cool feeling playing alongside a bloke who not only did I have so much success alongside but a bloke I’ve connected with throughout my career.

“To come back and hopefully finish my career alongside him, I can’t say how grateful I am.”

So what makes Cherry-Evans and Foran such a successful combination, after winning a title together in 2011 and losing to the Roosters two years later in the decider during a vintage run for the northern beaches club? Will it be a case of them hitting the ground running again in round one? Josh Schuster is another five-eighth option, but he is only 19 and should consider himself lucky to learn from two of the best in the business.

Cherry-Evans likens Foran’s presence to that of Cameron Munster in the Queensland team, and is excited about the freedom it could bring him on the field.

“I’m definitely looking forward to playing alongside Foz, purely for the experience he brings,” Cherry-Evans said.

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“It will naturally free me up to play a different role. I won’t reinvent the wheel with the way I play, but when you play with a dominant half, such as Munster in Origin, it brought out a different side in my game and hopefully that happens alongside Kieran.

“Last year I fell into the trap of trying to control too much. That Origin series, I felt I didn’t have to do that. Wherever the ball went was the right way to go, and that’s the mentality I have with Kieran being here.”

Foran played finals the first six years of his career, but bombed out before September the next six. Injuries have not helped. His body, hamstrings, back and toes have so far survived Hasler’s summer of pain.

Should Foran remain on the park, along with Cherry-Evans and the Trbojevic brothers, Sea Eagles fans are entitled to dream about a top-four finish.

Cherry-Evans never stops aiming high. Nor does Manly’s favourite son.

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Jakovich believes pair of “bargain” Eagles could have big 2021 impact


Two-time West Coast premiership player Glen Jakovich says his former club’s off-season recruits represent bargain buys.

Alex Witherden moved to the Eagles from Brisbane in the recently completed trade period, while Zac Langdon sealed a move back to his home state from GWS.

Jakovich said he was excited to see what both players could do and held out high hopes for Witherden in particular, who he pinpointed as a possible future replacement for captain Shannon Hurn in defence once he retires.

“In comes Alex Witherden and Zac Langdon, I like the ins and think those are both bargains,” he said on Sportsday WA.

“Especially Alex Witherden, he was a first rounder a couple of years ago and was an elite kick in the national academy program. In this day and age, you need elite kicks that can pull the trigger on 45 degrees when you’re going through the corridor.

“He’ll be looking a suitable replacement for Shannon Hurn one day.”

West Coast will be looking to improve on their shock Elimination Final loss to Collingwood in 2020 and Jakovich said it was up to the players outside of the best 22 to put more pressure to break into the side.

“The list is still very strong, they’ll be a contender and be right up there,” he said.

“Elliot Yeo is a big one and I wouldn’t mind seeing him delaying his start by two or three weeks and then you get the back end of the year where you get him playing his optimum footy.

“Their backline is solid, Tom Barrass and Jeremy McGovern and were all All-Australians last year. Shannon Hurn is going to be an interesting one, he’s looking the goods but it’s only January.

“But where I’m looking at is for the next generation to step up. I like Josh Rotham – I reckon he’s been a bit unlucky a few times to be left out of the side.

“If West Coast are to win the flag, they need pressure from the 24th player right up until the 30th player playing well in their reserves team.”





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Eagles coach reflects on missed opportunity in 2020


West Coast coach Adam Simpson says his team has the hunger to contend after two years of self-admitted underperformance.

The Eagles missed out on the top four by percentage before falling to Collingwood in a home Elimination Final.

Simpson broke down what went right and what went wrong across a tumultuous 2020 season.

“We hit a sweet spot, I think we won eight in a row after a poor start and six of those games were at home,” he told Sportsday WA.

“Then we lost to Richmond back up in Queensland and hit a difficult period where we lost probably eight or nine of our best 22 and we dropped two games and you go into the finals and we missed top four by percentage and we lost the first final by a point.

“It’s a long answer to your question, but I think we did miss an opportunity and it’s probably for the second year in a row, but it’s probably a reflection of our expectations.

“We’ve got a strong list, but we had to use every player almost last year and really got tested and when we got everyone back for that first final we perhaps weren’t at our best and Collingwood had a really good backs against the wall win.

“I suppose every year you don’t finish top four you feel like you’ve underachieved.”

When asked if he thought the Eagles were a top two team this year, Simpson admitted there’s too many variables to know at this stage of the year.

“I don’t know, it’s really hard to tell (if we’re a top two team this year). I’d love to think that’s the case, but it’s really difficult to project the draw, which team’s going to bounce up, injuries, anything off the field that’s happening,” he said.

“One thing I do know is you have to get everything right off the field with how your club’s run and management and no off field issues and stability, so I feel we’re in a pretty good space for that.

“It is difficult to tell because there’s a lot of teams knocking on the door.

“I’ve got plenty of confidence that our playing group has got the hunger and that’s the first step.”







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Eagles great raises questions over Essendon’s internal culture


Glen Jakovich has taken aim at Essendon, believing their off-field culture cost the club two star players in the 2020 trade period.

Joe Daniher (Brisbane), Orazio Fantasia (Port Adelaide) and Adam Saad (Carlton) all chose to depart following the club’s six-win campaign.

Jakovich has revealed that two of those three would have stuck with the Bombers had John Worsfold remained in his role as head coach.

“I just feel the off-field issues continue to linger on, they’re not on the same page from board to admin to players,” Jakovich told Sportsday WA.

“I do know that three of those players that left, two of them would have stayed if John Worsfold was still coach.

“I was told that individually, not by John, but by someone in Melbourne.

“I had a bit to do with two of them in the national academy program.

“A Daniher does not leave Essendon, why did he leave? Maybe one day we’ll find out. You don’t lose three A-graders like that.”

Essendon enters 2021 with a new coach in Ben Rutten and a new president in Paul Brasher, with Kevin Sheedy also returning to the club as part of the board.

Jakovich likes their list on paper, but feels off-field issues have held them back and may continue to do so.

“Something is amiss and it’s internally. From my intel over in Melbourne, there seems to be a lot of Essendon people that demand they play finals every year, but they don’t understand it’s a national competition,” he said.

“They’ve been building this list with no finals experiences or performances, so I think what makes them great off-field, their great histories and traditions, is their Achilles heel right now.

“Until they understand that and the AFL system, then I see them missing the eight again this year because there’s so many off-field issues regarding their administration, their board, their members are frustrated and that pressure hampered John Worsfold last year, you could see that.

“I went through their list last night and I’m just amazed this side has not played regular finals over the last couple of years.

“Their senior players are really strong, they have been struggling with a few injuries.

“Three A-graders left the club and I think what makes Essendon so great is their biggest downfall. They’ve got a big history and a lot of tradition and I think they rely too much on that.

“They haven’t won a final since 2003 … they need to get their off-field issues in order and I’m not talking about what happened in the past, I don’t even want to bring it up what happened in 2012, but I just feel the place is unsettled.

“It needs the players now to step up and perform in their own environment. There’s a lot of pressure on them.

“They’ve got a great list here that I think can play finals football, but they keep missing out.”







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Eagles coach Simpson remains frustrated by “out of whack” Rioli ASADA case


West Coast coach Adam Simpson is “absolutely” concerned about the AFL future of Willie Rioli as his ASADA drug case continues to roll on without a resolution.

The small forward finally had his case heard in December, with an AFL anti-doping tribunal expected to meet this month.

He was initially suspended after allegedly tampering with a urine sample in the lead up to West Coast’s finals run in 2019. A few weeks later he tested positive for cannabis on the day of a game.

Simpson remains frustrated by the handling of the situation by ASADA.

“We’ll deal with it. He’ll get some clarity in the next couple of weeks and we’ll go from there,” Simpson told reporters.

“It’s a really interesting conversation about what we do once we get the verdict and once we get settled and it’s finalised. We’ll work through it then.

“We’ve been pretty patient considering what’s happened. Some people say that’s on us and on him but it’s been a little bit out of whack.”

Rioli would be available for Round 1 if a ban of 18 months is handed down, given he has already served 16 months provisionally. However, a four-year ban would likely end his AFL career.

Simpson says a verdict would at the very least help Rioli get on with his life.

“That’s really important for Willie’s mental health. It’s been a long time and we’ll find out in the next couple of weeks,” Simpson said.

“All I’m thinking about is Willie’s health and wellbeing and where he is at personally. I can’t control what is happening in the courts and the proceedings. What’s done is done. Now we’re just hoping we get a good hearing and get a good outcome.”







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AFL 2021: Willie Rioli drugs case, AFL Anti-Doping tribunal, West Coast Eagles, Adam Simpson, Elliot Yeo injury, return


West Coast coach Adam Simpson fears suspended forward Willie Rioli may not play at AFL level again, while Elliot Yeo appears unlikely to be ready for the start of the 2021 season.

Rioli finally had his case heard last month, having been provisionally suspended after allegedly tampering with a urine sample during a drug test after an Eagles training session in late 2019. Weeks later he tested positive for cannabis on game day.

A verdict from an AFL anti-doping tribunal hearing is expected this month and Simpson says he “absolutely” has concerns about the premiership player’s AFL future.

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Round 1

“We’ll deal with it. He’ll get some clarity in the next couple of weeks and we’ll go from there,” Simpson said.



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Eagles coach fears Willie Rioli may not play at AFL level again


“He’s not great, it’s been a long time of the unknown. He needs to put his hand up and deal with [it] himself but it’s been probably too long a time to wait really.”

Rioli allegedly tampered with a urine sample during a drug test and tested positive for cannabis on a separate occasion.

Yeo set for early return but no set round for comeback game

Eagles midfielder Elliot Yeo was out on the training track on Monday but the 27-year-old still has a way to go before he can challenge for his old spot.

Yeo has been out since round 11 last year with an osteitis pubis injury but Simpson says he could make an early return in 2021.

“He’s [Yeo] ticking the boxes, he’s advancing every week, we haven’t had a hiccup yet,” Simpson said.

“He’s on running duties at the moment so the next phase for him will be change of direction, so we’ll take that as it comes but he’s still on track for an early return this season.

“I don’t think we can put a round on it, but he’ll be right when he’s right and at the moment he’s tracking pretty well.

“With the new rotations and the game length going back out, it will probably make it harder for players like Yeoy to come back in with managed minutes, I’m sure we’ll find a way, but that’s down the track.”

West Coast Eagles coach Adam Simpson says he can’t point out a target round for midfielder Elliot Yeo to return.Credit:Jono Searle/AFL Photos/via Getty Images

There are 11 players yet to return to the main playing group as they sit through quarantine after returning to WA from states with COVID-19 community cases.

Simpson said there had been a few minor maladies with the sudden ramp-up in training for the team as individual players came back to the club for the pre-season preparation.

He said Luke Shuey, Brendon Ah Chee and new recruit Zac Langdon had some niggles but they should be back in full swing in the next two weeks.

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Terrell Owens and Donovan McNabb feud, Philadelphia Eagles, Super Bowl


Terrell Owens just levied a shocking new accusation in his 15-year feud with former Philadelphia Eagles teammate Donovan McNabb.

Despite McNabb’s repeated denials over the years, legend has it that he threw up in the huddle of Super Bowl XXXIX against the New England Patriots at the end of the 2004 season. Owens not only countered that other teammates tell him they saw it — he offered a reason for it.

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“I know there were teammates I talked to recently who said they saw him throw up in the huddle,” Owens said on Bleacher Report’s “Untold Stories” with Master Tesfatsion.

“I’ve talked to teammates since then and know for a fact that he was out the night before the biggest game pretty much of all of our careers there. There were people that saw him out and said he was drinking. I think that contributed to him throwing up in the huddle.”

McNabb threw three touchdowns and three interceptions in the 24-21 defeat. Partying the night before a Super Bowl is a path to infamy in the NFL.

Packers receiver Max McGee admitted years later that he scored the first touchdown in Super Bowl history playing with a hangover. Raiders offensive lineman Barret Robbins disappeared from the team hotel and went on a drinking binge in Mexico on Super Bowl eve just a few years before the Owens-McNabb incident. Falcons safety Eugene Robinson was busted for soliciting an undercover police officer posing as a prostitute the night before the big game.

McNabb and Owens have been at odds since they were teammates. Owens felt McNabb didn’t appreciate how he escalated the Eagles from years of playoff failures and wasn’t on his side against the organisation in a contract dispute. McNabb was the victim of a few not-so-veiled shots by Owens, who was later suspended for conduct detrimental to the team and released.

“Knowing all this information, I thought it was irresponsible, especially for somebody of his caliber and status and leader of the team,” said Owens, who went on to play three seasons with the rival Cowboys and finished out his career with the Bills and Bengals.

McNabb was on “Untold Stories” earlier this year and called Owens a “major distraction” in 2005 when he was working out in front of his house for the media after he was sent home from training camp by then-coach Andy Reid.

Until then, Owens thought they had “squashed” the feud and were on cordial terms, but McNabb said, “I give him a nice peace sign and keep it moving. I respect his time, I love my time. There is no need to dust off things that happened in the past.”

Not good enough closure for Owens, who took a shot at the way McNabb finished his career on the bench with Washington.

“He don’t make me,” Owens said. “I’m in the Hall of Fame for what I’ve done and what I’ve accomplished.

“I appreciate the opportunity to have played with him. Check my stats before I got there and check my stats when I left. He is supposed to be one of the top quarterbacks in the league in his mind. You can’t go to Washington and not beat out Rex Grossman.”

This article originally appeared on the NY Post and was reproduced with permission.



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Heartbreak to motivate Manly Sea Eagles ‘rookie’ Andrew Davey


But his real big break came after round 18 against the Panthers when Davey got a call from his manager.

Manly were offering the “rookie” a two-year contract. Not only were they offering a deal, but also the money Davey had been waiting most of his life to finally see.

Davey gave up life as a reputable carpenter in the area and local league captain to pursue his boyhood dream of becoming a first-grader.

Packing up his car in Queensland and driving south to join the Eels squad in 2019, Davey headed for Sydney with a simple dream: to be given a contract worth enough money to support his partner of five years.

But disaster struck soon after the Manly deal arrived. Davey’s partner, with whom he had been in a long-distance relationship with for three years due to his rugby league dream, decided to break things off.

“I keep saying to people this has been the best-worst year of my life,” Davey said.

“I always a battler just for an opportunity and finally I was given something of worth so I could have my life all together … but COVID-19 took its toll.”

Andrew Davey celebrates a try (later disallowed) against Wests Tigers in September.Credit:Getty

Davey and his partner had been unable to each other for seven months due to both the NRL bubble and border closures.

“It was hard to leave when I did but it was my last opportunity. If I didn’t take it, that was it,” he said.

“When my manager rang me and told me what money I was on [with Manly], I was thinking, how good. I am going to be an NRL player and get to have my partner and be in a financial position to support her. Finally, I had had a win.”

“I proved I was worth it. I proved that I was capable of being an NRL player, but then I lost my partner on top of it.”

Heading into pre-season with Manly on January 4, Davey said he will be using his heartbreak as motivation going into the 2021 NRL season. Having given up everything to be with the Sea Eagles, Davey said he is heading into the club with a “no regrets” attitude.

“I’ve worked too hard to be here,” he said. “I just want to be able to say that I was a consistent first-grader, not just a fill-in and make my own little piece of legacy.”

Davey said he had already been welcomed into the club by senior figures like Kieran Foran and Daly Cherry-Evans, who had been “so good” to him during this year’s short pre-season period.

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“It’s funny when you’re my age and come into the system, and I’m only new to the system, I’m not playing with players that I watched growing up,” he said.

“A lot of kids play when they’re 20 and they’ve watched their heroes play and they get to play with them.”

Heading into next season, Davey is hoping to send a message to kids and men alike that it’s never too late to achieve your life goals.

“I don’t know how many times I was ridiculed for what I was doing, people saying what are you doing that for, you’re never gonna make it,” he said.

“But I wouldn’t change it because I’ve done something that I’d always dreamed of doing, I took the scenic route, but I made it and there’s nothing stopping someone else from doing the same thing.”

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NRL news 2020, Steve Matai, Manly Sea Eagles, disappearance, reason, contract


Steve Matai put out a statement last week in response to reports of former Manly players and officials being concerned over his well-being after he went ‘off the grid’.

The former premiership-winning centre moved with his family up the NSW north coast and was reportedly declining to return messages.

His statement in response was that he was healthy and happy and just getting on with his new life surrounded by his family and was just enjoying not being in the limelight anymore.

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Round 1

REPORTS: Crichton’s 2021 over

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