Manly coach Des Hasler has backed Daly Cherry-Evans to take over as Maroons captain in the wake of Greg Inglis's retirement.
The Sea Eagles halfback was called upon to rejoin the Queensland side in game three last year, ending a lengthy stint on the State of Origin outer after playing six matches from 2013 to 2015.
Hasler believes Cherry-Evans is more than capable of leading the Maroons in 2019. DCE is one of the few candidates for the Queensland job who captains his club side.
"He's been part of the Origin infrastructure for a while," Hasler said.
"He understands what the Maroons culture is all about.
"He's had some great grounding – some players that have played before he who he would have learnt from.
"Cherry brings a lot of experience as well so don't underestimate that – he's used to big games, he's played plenty of big games."
The Sea Eagles head south to WIN Stadium to face the Dragons on Saturday night with each team chasing their fourth straight win.
When asked about his own team's form, Hasler did his usual trick of deflecting all talk about Manly and immediately started talking up their opponents.
"This St George [Illawarra] side, they've been impressive," Hasler said.
"They've got some good combinations going there – arguably a State of Origin back row.
"Two very crafty halves that are experienced, [Matt] Dufty looks pretty dangerous at No.1 with that blinding speed and up front you've got the experience of an international in James Graham and [Paul] Vaughan is there as well.
"We just want to keep improving and we relish the challenge tomorrow from a pretty formidable side."
One player at Manly that Hasler did want to talk up was Jake Trbojevic, who will be lining up for his 100th Telstra Premiership game.
"He's a great player, there no doubt about it," Hasler said.
"People underestimate what he brings to a side.
"The fact that he's sort of lauded by his peers is a great honour for him.
"And tomorrow whether its his 100, 150 or 200 you know exactly what you're going to get from Jake."