Daly Cherry-Evans' record-breaking display amid Souths and Titans woes: Good, bad, ugly of NRL round 5

The Sea Eagles bounced back from a shock defeat to the Dragons in round 4 to score a massive win over the Panthers.

😃 The good: Daly Cherry-Evans showing no signs of slowing down in Manly win

😔 The bad: Jason Demetriou under serious threat of being axed in coming weeks

😡 The ugly: Des Hasler faces damning reality as NRL draw becomes tougher

Daly Cherry-Evans stars in record 310th match as Manly contemplate life after DCE

Milestone matches don’t go too more perfect that the one Manly rolled out to celebrate Daly Cherry-Evans' record-breaking 310th match. Perfect weather, a full house at Brookie, a try and six goals for the hero and an emphatic win over three-time premiers Penrith – the northern beaches truly was God's Country on Saturday night.

But after all the celebrations and back slaps have dissipated, the Sea Eagles face a dilemma over where to go with DCE. Does he finish up when his contract ends at the end of the next year so Manly can start blooding his replacement soon?

Daly Cherry-Evans couldn't have had a more perfect record-breaking 310th match as Manly bulldozed the Panthers, while Jason Demetriou's Souths and Des Hasler's Titans continue to struggle. Image: Getty
Daly Cherry-Evans couldn't have had a more perfect record-breaking 310th match as Manly bulldozed the Panthers, while Jason Demetriou's Souths and Des Hasler's Titans continue to struggle. Image: Getty

Or do they grant their most-capped skipper another year or two and let him stay in the No.7 well into his late 30s? It’s not a bad dilemma, mind you, but a dilemma all the same.

The Sea Eagles are wary about pressing Cherry-Evans for a decision but also need to know what he intends doing post 2025. Clubs are always looking to future proof and Manly boss Anthony Seibold will want a clear vision of who will take over at halfback. Cherry-Evans is giving little away, placing an each-way bet on his future following the Penrith win.

"This game's too hard to go and say I'm going to play another two, three, four years – it’s honestly that hard," he said. "I'm not going to put that pressure on myself. What I do know is I'm enjoying footy, I'm enjoying the challenges that come with it but also enjoy the fun that comes with it." Expect a decision on his future around Origin time.

Pictured Daly Cherry-Evans
Daly Cherry-Evans scored a try and converted six goals in an emphatic win over three-time premiers Penrith.

Jason Demetriou under fire as Sam Burgess reunion could come sooner rather than later

Late last month, Sam Burgess was asked on Manchester radio whether he'd see out his full two years at Warrington amid speculation he could be air-dropped into the top job at the embattled Rabbitohs. "He’s (Souths co-owner Russell Crowe) really content, he’s happy I’m here and enjoying myself here," Burgess replied.

“I'm here for two years, I love and enjoy being at Warrington, coaching this club and I’m happy where I am." There's no doubt Burgess is content at the Wolves and why wouldn't he be after a terrific start to his senior coaching career.

But that doesn't mean the landscape can't change dramatically if the Bunnies' season keeps heading in its current direction. Things change fast in rugby league. One win from five starts and the almost weekly upheaval over where Latrell Mitchell's form – and head – is at is heaping the pressure on coach Jason Demetriou. The axe could fall as soon as this month if they don’t beat the Sharks on Saturday night.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 13: Sam Burgess speaks to Rabbitohs head coach Jason Demetriou during a South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL training session at Redfern Oval on March 13, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Calls are mounting for Souths to swing the axe on struggling coach Jason Demetriou.

If that happens, the Burgess-to-the-rescue whispers will become a roar. He may not have the experience of other candidates but he has shown at Warrington he possess coaching smarts to match his passion. He has the respect of everyone at South Sydney and won’t be afraid to make the tough calls.

He has previously called out senior players Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker over their attitude and won't cop any excuses or short cuts from any player. The fans love him and are demanding he be next man up.

Burgess will one day coach South Sydney. Why not bring it forward a year or two?


Phil Gould makes horror prediction as Des Hasler seemingly has no answers to Titans troubles

You hear some crazy things in rugby league but did Phil Gould really tip the Titans to beat the Cowboys in Townsville? Yes, he did.

Gus reasoned every club wins at least one game during the opening five rounds and the Titans were due to break their duck. And, for a 10-minute period in the second half, he was starting to look a genius.

With the Cows down a man, the Titans suddenly realised they were there to play footy and reduced the gap to six. Then they switched off as they so often do and meekly handed the game back to their hosts.

The 35-22 defeat made it four straight losses to start the year. They are the only tea not to register a win. Only a second round bye is keeping them off the bottom of the table – for now.

When the going gets tough, the Titans go missing. It’s very unlike a Des Hasler-coached team. The veteran coach has now gone 631 days without a victory in the NRL. And the way their draw lines up, the Titans' first realistic shot at a win might have to wait until round 14 when they face South Sydney.