Daly Cherry-Evans says he would have handled his backflip on the Titans differently after feeling the scorn of the greater rugby league public for more than two years.
His decision to renege on a four-year $4 million deal with the Gold Coast in 2015 has followed him ever since.
Some believe it has cost him Maroons and possibly Australian selection.
Ultimately he signed a lifetime deal with the Sea Eagles. An eight-year contract worth $10 million.
But after struggling for form in the immediate aftermath of his backflip, the 28-year-old has returned to career best form this season to lead Manly to their first finals series in three years.
And although things are looking up on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Cherry-Evans admits the mark on his name remains.
“I definitely agree I am still tarnished by what has happened through that whole process, but, would I change anything?” Cherry-Evans told Fox Sports’ League Life.
“Yeah probably there’s certain ways I would have gone about the shopping around process I guess at the start. I probably would have liked it to be a bit more behind closed doors.
“And I can genuinely say I don’t think I had much control over certain situations I was in in that regard.”
The halfback was slammed by the media with his move resulting in the NRL changing the cooling off rules after signing a contract.
Cherry-Evans, who guided Manly to the 2011 Premiership in his rookie season, said his frosty relationship with the media didn’t help things at the time.
“I think with the relationship I had with the media at the time I certainly wasn’t very friendly with them and they didn’t have a relationship with me,” he said.
“So, if the option’s there to throw me to the wolves a little bit or to look after me, understandably I can see why they ran with it the way they did.”
Cherry-Evans, who remains just the second player to be awarded the Clive Churchill medal in a losing grand final team in 109 years, said he understood why the public turned on him.
“…Rugby league fans tend to really buy into that sort of stuff and when you’re painted on the back pages as a villain then it flows on from there,” he said.
“It was a process and would I have changed a few things, probably, yeah. But ultimately I still can’t argue that I wanted the result to be any different.”