Daly Cherry-Evans has fronted up to questioning on NRL 360 after the Manly and Queensland skipper was rumoured to lead a bid to oust ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys.
In Maroons camp ahead of the first Origin match of the series in Townsville, Cherry-Evans fronted questioning after the rumour mill went into overdrive over a rumblings of unrest from the playing ranks.
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Reports emerged last weekend that some of the biggest stars in the game were furious over a lack of communication before the NRL’s sudden rule changes and crackdown on foul play before Magic Round in Brisbane.
V’landys has always maintained he will never back down from the league’s new stance on all forms of high contract and dangerous play, saying the league had a duty of care to protect its players from concussion-related Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
It even saw American star Chris Nowinski slam players for the reported plot.
Following his comments on Sunday where he demanded V’landys step up and look after the players in the game, before saying he didn’t believe chairman should be ousted.
But it didn’t quiet rumours that Cherry-Evans, who is the general president of the Rugby League Players Association, was behind the reported player revolt.
It has seen him slammed after V’landys’ leadership saved a reported $400 million.
While no single player was named in the initial report, rumours swirled it was the Sea Eagles skipper, but he responded to the talk on Wednesday night.
“No, that’s not the case,” he said. “Obviously my name’s been attached to it but the playing group is made up of nearly 500 players, so obviously there is a few players who have vented their frustration in the media. My name got attached to it but hopefully we can move on from that one.”
Cherry-Evans added that he doesn’t believe any particular player is leading the charge but more a broader opinion from players who are “a bit frustrated and a bit angry about things that have transpired, not recently but over the last six months”.
He added that the problem the players had with the crackdown was due to the implementation of the mid-season change.
Cherry-Evans said the lack of consultation with players had sparked the rumours, admitting he spoke to V’landys earlier on Wednesday.
“It was really good that we got to see eye-to-eye,” Cherry-Evans said. “One thing we definitely see eye-to-eye on is the player welfare side of what’s happened recently. That can’t be underestimated how lucky we are that the NRL has come in and backed us on that front. It’s probably just the process it took to the situation we’re in now that was the difference of opinion that we had but we’re certainly eye-to-eye on where the game stands on the player welfare side of things.”
However, Cherry-Evans said he didn’t discuss players getting more of a consultation with players for major decisions, saying “I wanted to clear the air with Peter”.
“It was pushed in my direction that it was a personal agenda that was being driven,” he said. “Hopefully after tonight people will understand that I was just voicing some frustrated and angry concerns within the playing group. There has certainly never been anything personal between myself and anyone in the game and the hierarchy who I have a lot of respect for.”
The player’s advisory board were reportedly meeting on Wednesday night but Cherry-Evans said he hoped he “put an end to it all”.