Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans has been recalled by the Queensland XXXX Maroons, replacing the injured Cooper Cronk for Holden State of Origin II at the MCG on June 17.
Cronk was on Monday ruled out of next week’s showpiece at the MCG after suffering a meniscus tear in his right knee on the weekend.
His misfortune has paved the way for the much talked-about DCE to step in at halfback.
It will be big shoes to fill following Cronk’s stellar performance and game-winning field goal in Game One that has put the Maroons one win away from returning the shield north.
It is a similar circumstance to 12 months ago when Cherry-Evans stepped in but failed on that occasion to prove a similar difference-maker as NSW clinched a drought-breaking series win.
However this time around Maroons coach Mal Meninga is adamant we will see a much better Cherry-Evans when the two teams take to the MCG next Wednesday.
“Unfortunate circumstances for Cooper, he would have loved to have played here… but Daly comes into the side and he’s been there and done that before,” Meninga said.
“He’s been apart of the side for a number of years and we are very confident he will get the job done.”
For Cherry-Evans it has been a whirlwind year and a tumultuous week capped of by boos and jeers by his fellow Queenslanders after confirmation he had backed out of his move to the Gold Coast and signed a lucrative deal to remain at Manly.
But now he is in Melbourne the 26-year-old was appreciating the fact that, for a week at least, he could escape the glaring scrutiny of the Sydney media.
“Melbourne is definitely a different place with regards to media and the attention we get with regards to rugby league players,” Cherry-Evans said.
“I’m really looking forward to getting around Melbourne and seeing it outside of the sporting arena.
“Being away in Melbourne I’m sure there’s plenty of coffee to be drunk and plenty of shopping to be done. So I’m more than happy outside of the training area to check out Melbourne for what it’s worth.”
The heir apparent to Cronk’s No.7 jersey said he was confident he could perform his role for the side.
The Maroons also named Josh Papalii, Dane Gagai and Korbin Sims as part of an extended squad.
The entire squad arrived in Melbourne on Tuesday and will spend the full week venturing to all parts of the Victorian capital for various promotional activities.
Queensland XXXX Maroons
1 Billy Slater
2 Darius Boyd
3 Greg Inglis
4 Justin Hodges
5 Will Chambers
6 Johnathan Thurston
7 Daly Cherry-Evans
8 Matt Scott
9 Cameron Smith
10 Nate Myles
11 Aidan Guerra
12 Sam Thaiday
13 Corey Parker
14 Michael Morgan
15 Josh McGuire
16 Matt Gillett
17 Jacob Lillyman
18 Josh Papalii
19 Dane Gagai
20 Korbin Sims