Gordon Tallis reckons Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans “doesn’t really care” about the club’s current predicament.
The Sea Eagles are winless after the first two games of the season and pressure is already mounting on coach Trent Barrett.
In-fighting at the club, injuries and suspensions haven’t helped the second year mentor, but Tallis has taken aim squarely at the team’s captain.
The league great spoke on The Late Show with Matty Johns on Fox Sports, where he criticised the attitude of Cherry-Evans, who in 2015 signed a 10-year, $10-million deal to remain at the club
“He can change it, he can take the pressure off (Barrett) by playing good (footy),” Tallis said.
“That’s a young guy that’s got a 10-year deal who doesn’t really care, because he can’t get moved on because he’s going to get all of his money.
Tallis was responding to a press conference the Manly half spoke at this week, in which he brushed off speculation around under-fire Barrett’s future.
“I don’t watch the news, I don’t read papers, it’s not my problem,” Cherry-Evans told reporters.
“He’s (Barrett’s) got my support and I don’t think there’s much more I can do or say to add to it.
“I find it pretty comical. I can’t comprehend why the coaches are under so much scrutiny in the game.”
But what may have seemed like a captain standing by his coach and failing to give credence to unjustified speculation, was seen by Tallis as a player reeking of complacency.
“That’s what I saw, I saw a young kid who doesn’t really care what coach comes in because I’m here for 10 years and I’m going to stay here whether you like it or not.”
“If you’re getting a million dollars for a 10-year deal you’ve got to make that club yours, you’ve got to make that team yours.
The Sea Eagles’ difficult start to the season doesn’t get any easier this round, with a date against the Cowboys in Townsville on Saturday night.