Jake Trbojevic gives impassioned defence of his ‘great mate’ DCE
JAKE Trbojevic has had a gutful of people bagging Daly Cherry-Evans and wants to see his "great mate" succeed in his return to State of Origin.
He's heard all the rumours of personality clashes with other Maroons players being behind the Cherry-Evans' exile to the rep wilderness after 2015, but he doubts there's much truth to it.
"He's mentally strong. He's a good leader ... everyone seems to blame him for everything. It's certainly not the case. He's a great captain and a great leader. He's a great mate," Trbojevic told NRL.com.
"It's obviously disappointing when people say things about him that aren't true but it's (Origin selection) a well-deserved reward for him.
"I think it's natural to be upset when you miss out on these sorts of teams.
"You want to be there, but he's pretty mentally strong. He doesn't show it too much. I guess all the people talking about him and having their say about him can be quite frustrating, but he doesn't show it."
Trbojevic, who'll line up against Cherry-Evans in Origin, said negative attention unfairly followed his Sea Eagles' skipper everywhere he went and the playing group did its best to shield him from it.
"We don't talk about it because we like him," he said.
"It's annoying when people bag him. It's annoying when people say they don't like him. And it would be for him, but he doesn't show it."
It has been a tough year for Cherry-Evans, made worse when Anthony Watmough sensationally told the Hello Sports podcast in June his former teammate had "turned into a f---wit" after his first year in the NRL.
This has been compounded by his side's struggles, with the Sea Eagles in a fight to avoid the wooden spoon.
As captain, and having demanded a huge chunk of Manly's salary cap, Cherry-Evans has copped much of the criticism, but Trbojevic expects the No.7 to shrugg that off and perform at the highest level.
"I don't think he's failed. It's just people trying to bash him. He's a great player and you can't deny he's been playing well and deserves to be there," Trbojevic said.