NRL: Sea Eagles should consider adopting the co-captaincy model

Opinion: @Hayward_AdamK

Daly Cherry-Evans is currently in the midst of a form slump which might be partly due to the burden of captaincy and on-field leadership of a team which is struggling badly – and it has affected his role in the team as halfback.


Of course you have all the clichés contributing to his lack of form such as forwards not going forward, poor completion rates due to simple errors and the side always having to chase insurmountable leads because of their substandard defence – but you can see the frustration that has built up in his own game which has led to his own uncharacteristic errors, poor judgement, wayward kicking and ill-discipline.

There are a lot of things that need fixing at the Northern Beaches club, but it has to start with their on-field leadership and star lock forward Jake Trbojevic is the right man to help ease the pressure on Cherry-Evans by inheriting some of the responsibilities of a club captain.

Watching Trbojevic’s impassioned plea to his teammates to aim up before and during games not only showed his competitive spirit and the love he has for the jersey – it showed that he is a natural leader among men.

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It was concerning to all who saw his impassioned pleas and attempts to motivate his teammates fall on deaf ears. The logical solution to change the way Manly players respond to Trbojevic is to elevate him to co-captain the side with Cherry-Evans.

Allowing Trbojevic to use his voice as a captain to lead the way, motivate his teammates and perhaps to communicate with the referee, would free up Cherry-Evans to focus on his own game and his role as halfback – directing the forwards where to go, getting his kicking game in order, creating try scoring opportunities and executing game plans.

We all know Cherry-Evans is an excellent captain and has a high rugby league IQ. You need look no further than last year’s State of Origin series when he led the so-called “worst Queensland team in 40 years” to an unlikely series win.


But it is evident that he needs help if he is going to lead the hapless Sea Eagles out of the mess they are currently in – which at the moment is looking like a far bigger job than captaining his state.

Many sides have adopted the co-captaincy model after the success of North Queensland Cowboys former co-captains Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott who led their side to a premiership and were named Dally M Captain(s) of the year in 2015.

The Sydney Roosters won back-to-back premierships in 2018-2019 with co-captains Boyd Cordiner and Jake Friend. The Raiders made the 2019 grand final with co-captains Jarrod Croker and Josh Hodgson.


Last year’s grand finalists Penrith Panthers decided Nathan Cleary and Isaah Yeo would share the captaincy responsibilities for the 2021 season and Cleary looks to be taking his game to yet another level without the full weight of the responsibilities of being a stand-alone captain.

The Panthers join the Storm (Dale Finucane/Jesse Bromwich), Cowboys (Michael Morgan/Jason Taumalolo), Raiders (Josh Hodgson/Jarrod Croker), Roosters (Boyd Cordiner/Jake Friend), Titans (Kevin Proctor/Jamal Fogarty) and Knights (Daniel Saifiti/Jayden Brailey) who have adopted the co-captaincy model.

Every team has a leadership group who would give their input during training and occasionally during games, but some teams benefit greatly with two on-field captains.

The Sea Eagles might do well with a more balanced style of on-field leadership and Cherry-Evans would almost certainly regain top form by sharing the responsibility of the captaincy with Jake Trbojevic to help lift the side off the bottom the ladder and a return to the finals.