Cherry-Evans, while gunning to snag another premiership title under Manly’s belt, has cited his principal driving force currently comes from his desire to be a role model for his trio of young daughters, Navi, 10, Harvie, 8, and the youngest, five-year-old Tully.
In salute to the Women in League Round, Cherry-Evans and his spouse Vessa took time out to indulge in a scarce family photo shoot at South Curl Curl Beach during the week. His hopes extend beyond inspiring his daughters, extending to their potential to continue the family name in the NRLW competition.
His daughters’ future ambitions may be undefined given their ages, however, Cherry-Evans voiced his support for any aspirations towards rugby league, adding, “They’re too young to know what they will be good at in life, but if they want to play rugby league, I’ll encourage them to chase their dream, just like their dad has.”
His commitment to their potential aspirations is resolute, with encouraging words of, “If you really want to do something, you’ll do it. If one of my girls wants to have a crack at footy, I’ll take them to training and give them a go.”
Playfully he remarks, “Right now they’re content watching dad. I’ll tackle them at home, I’ll tackle them on to the couch or the bed.” He notes his youngest’s potential interest, musing, “My youngest is pretty wild and has floated the idea of playing footy. Who knows, maybe she’ll be playing in 15 years time. The NRLW could be huge by then.”
Vessa, an avid supporter, is frequently seen at matches and had a special part in awarding her husband’s commemorative jersey on Friday night before Manly’s game against St George Illawarra on Saturday.
Cherry-Evans, now 34 years old, displays an illustrious career in its second decade at the coastal club, earning over $12 million. “I’m still as competitive as ever, and I’m out there to win, but a lot of my motivation is inspiring my kids to chase their dreams, and to inspire the kids at school to become an NRL or NRLW player,” he says.
Part of his passion extends to igniting the future of the game, he explains, “A really big part of why I play now is to inspire the next generation. I’ve seen how much girls love their dads. I’m sure through the teen years it might get a bit prickly but, at the moment, they’re such beautiful kids … it’s a beautiful thing to go home each night to my four girls.”
Rugby league statistics from NSW Rugby League reflect a surge in interest from female participants. A whopping 26,191 girls across the state are currently registered to play rugby, with a quarter of these participants part of the Manly community, serving as players, referees, and coaches.