Dylan Walker will let his football do the talking. That's the view of Daly Cherry-Evans, who has watched Walker "train the house down" over the summer as allegations of assault have clouded his future.
Walker's fiancee, Alexandra Ivkovic, has retracted her initial statement which triggered the charges against the 24-year-old Sea Eagle but police are pursuing the case regardless.
If found guilty he could have his contract torn up by Manly on the spot.
That prospect may concern some but according to Cherry-Evans, Walker is fit, firing and ready to tackle the season ahead.
"Dylan has trained the absolute house down," Cherry-Evans said. "As a rugby league player you just want your footy to do the talking and he’s given himself the best opportunity to play good football this season by the way he has trained."
Walker may well have trained the house down over the summer but there is no telling whether he will line up for Manly's first trial of the season against Cronulla on Saturday week.
He will appear in court again next week but for now, Cherry-Evans is more concerned about the welfare of his teammate and his family.
"It’s not for me to decide what happens there," Cherry-Evans said when asked if Walker would play at Shark Park.
"As a mate I am just making sure that he’s all right and that his family is OK. That’s the most important thing in these situations - that everybody is happy and healthy."
While the allegations levelled against Walker are serious, Cherry-Evans pleaded with fans and powerbrokers alike to realise rugby league players - like all people - made mistakes.
"We are rugby league players but we are human beings as well and we do make mistakes like everyone else," he said.
"I’ve certainly made mistakes throughout my career that have been publicly scrutinised and that is part and parcel with being a rugby league player.
"There is obviously going to be public scrutiny but I just hope people understand that we all make mistakes and I guess if they are determined to be bad, just like everyone else we will be in trouble with the law.
"If not, then just like everyone else, we want to get on with our lives and do our job. Football isn’t too far away so hopefully we can let the football do the talking."
In less than one month Des Hasler's second stint in charge of the Sea Eagles will officially begin.
Leichhardt t Oval will be the setting for the start of the new Hasler regime, with Manly to face Wests Tigers there on March 16.
Which one of Kane Elgey and Trent Hodkinson lines up alongside Cherry-Evans to face Wests in the famous Manly No. 6 jumper remains a mystery to the Maroons halfback.
That means all eyes will be on Cherry-Evans' partner in the halves at Shark Park, with Elgey and Hodkinson expected to split the 80 minutes at five-eighth.
Elgey is the early favourite to line up alongside the Maroons halfback, though it's understood Hodkinson has been training in the halves all pre-season, too.
Hasler is yet to ask Cherry-Evans for his opinion but the 29-year-old highlighted the differences between the pair in their attacking approach when asked if he had a personal preference.
"I think the trials will determine what comes about in our No.6 jersey and I’d rather not have to give an opinion (on who starts)," Cherry-Evans said.
"I like (Elgey's) speed and his ability to run the football. When he does that at training it is very hard to stop
"Trent is a guy who has a cool, relaxed demeanour. They both bring something to the squad and at some stage this year I dare say we will have to use both of them."