Ben Barba has spoken with good mate Daly Cherry-Evans in a bid to lure him to Cronulla.
Ben Barba has revealed he has spoken to good mate Daly Cherry-Evans as hopes rise that Cronulla can secure the keenly-sought halfback.
With the scandal of drug allegations engulfing Gold Coast likely spelling doom for the Titans' quest for Cherry-Evans, the chances of the Queensland and Australian playmaker joining Barba in the Shire have soared.
It would be the Sharks' biggest-ever recruitment coup and, if they pull it off, Barba will play a key role.
The duo grew up in Mackay together and have been friends since childhood.
Barba, who joined Cronulla for the 2015 season, said the duo have long held a desire to play NRL together and he'd love Cherry-Evans to partner him in the Sharks' halves.
"I have had my words to him. He is a grown man he has a family to look after and at the end of the day it is his decision what he wants to do," Barba told AAP on Sunday.
"But hopefully the few words I have said to him lead him to Cronulla.
"It would be unbelievable if the Sharks could get him.
"He is a wanted man and there are a few clubs circling, but if the Sharks are able to snag him I would be stoked.
"It would be a dream come true to play in the top grade with one of your best mates."
With a number of players off contract at season's end, Shane Flanagan's Sharks are in an ideal position to make a big money bid for Manly superstar Cherry-Evans.
Michael Gordon, Blake Ayshford, skipper Paul Gallen, Anthony Tupou, Jeff Robson and Chris Heighington all have their contracts up for renewal at the end of 2015.
Robson would likely make way for Cherry-Evans, but he could stay on in a back-up hooking role if desired.
Either way the Sharks are in a position to rival what fellow suitors Canterbury and Parramatta can throw at Manly's 2012-premiership winning halfback.
Those close to DCE say he could be attracted to the more laidback approach at Cronulla offered by Flanagan.
No doubt, Cherry-Evans will also be attracted by the opportunity to play alongside Barba.
So close are the families that while Barba was signing autographs at the Sharks fan day at Remondis Stadium on Sunday, his partner Ainslie and three daughters were attending the birthday party of Cherry-Evans' child.
"Back home in the off season, when we are visiting each other's families back in Mackay we used to chat about it and to dream about it (playing together)," Barba said.
"Just playing footy and always making the same rep teams and growing up in Mackay we have formed a close bond."