Harassing of DCE has to come to a halt now
UNDER normal circumstances, tonight's clash between the Titans and Sea Eagles - sitting 13th and 14th on the ladder, respectively - would rate about five from 10 on the scale of general fan interest.
And with the school holidays over and Monday night traditionally a poor crowd puller, it's doubtful the meagre home crowd average of just on 12,000 for the Titans this season is likely to improve either.
But one young man - Daly Cherry-Evans - is unwittingly shining a spotlight on what looms as a ho-hum game.
A victim of a ludicrous NRL rule, and the target of an unfair media beat-up, Cherry-Evans will add a sideshow to a clash that will almost certainly end the finals hope of one of the combatants.
That DCE is still being publicly harassed for back-flipping on his decision to join the Titans from next season is a disgrace.
For the life of me I fail to comprehend why he is being held to ridicule when so many before him exploited the same absurd rule.
Have his detractors conveniently forgotten that in the past couple of seasons Kevin Proctor, Josh Papalii, Luke Lewis, Tim Moltzen and James Tedesco are among those who have used the same loophole to change their mind?
And even the great Greg Inglis, when virtually forced to leave Melbourne in 2010 following the salary cap disaster at the Storm, had agreed to join the Broncos before having a change of heart and signing with the Rabbitohs.
But again, everyone seems to have forgotten that.
What all these players did in the past, and what Cherry-Evans finally decided a month ago, was obviously something they considered was in their best interests.
And even though the contract negotiations were protracted and very much in the public eye, the slurring of the Sea Eagles halfback, and his club, is unjustified and unfair. My difficulty in coming to terms with the ongoing censure of Cherry-Evans is that the young bloke is a genuine cleanskin.
Apart from having this permissible change of heart about switching clubs, I cannot recall one incident where he has brought negative publicity to the game he plays.
Even at the weekend a Sydney radio station continued to propagate the personal issues which have no doubt existed at Brookvale in recent seasons, seemingly based primarily around player contracts.
Anthony Watmough opened old wounds when he conceded he and DCE weren't close, had shared different groups of friends and when asked said no, he would not have a beer with his former teammate.
But just as the boos on the Gold Coast won't affect the way Cherry-Evans plays tonight, not having a beer with Watmough is unlikely to cost him any sleep either.