Queensland Coach Kevin Walters has tonight named Manly Sea Eagles half-back Daly Cherry-Evans as captain of the Maroons team.
Cherry-Evans has played seven games for the Maroons since making his debut for Qld in 2013. He turned in a dominant performance in his recall to the Qld team in the final game of last year’s series won by NSW.
Cherry-Evans will next Wednesday night become the 15th Queensland player to captain the Maroons in the State of Origin arena, with Walters labelling his experienced halfback the “standout” choice.
Walters said he had long been an admirer of Cherry-Evans’ toughness and resilience, as well as his leadership skills with the Manly Sea Eagles.
“I know we’ve got a really strong relationship, a good coach/captain relationship, which to me is very important as well,” Walters said.
“He understands the game, he’s got great experience.
“He’s played in grand finals, he’s played in Origins, so to me he was a standout to lead this Maroons team onto Suncorp Stadium next week.”
Cherry-Evans said he was thrilled to be given the opportunity to lead Queensland this year.
“It’s a tremendous honour to captain this state,” Cherry-Evans said.
“My immediate task is to make sure that as a group, we get our preparation right. I know we have the personnel here to do that and deliver a performance that everyone can be proud of next Wednesday.”
Cherry-Evans has not played since undergoing ankle surgery five weeks ago after being injured for Manly in the round seven win over Canberra at Lottoland.
"I will be fine. I am 100 per cent. I wouldn't put myself in the situation to hurt not just myself, but the team," Cherry-Evans said.
"I am definitely thinking of Manly as well. I wouldn't put myself in a position to hurt our season.
Walters praised the dedication of Cherry-Evans to ensure he was right for selection.
“Our conversations with the medical staff at Manly and DCE, he has worked around the clock,’’ Walters said.
“His commitment and attitude towards getting himself right for Origin 1 really is inspiring for the whole team to see what he has gone through to get himself right for this game.
“That shows what it means for him to be part of this great Queensland team and he will be a part of it in a big way.”
Walters said Queensland would embrace Cherry-Evans this series.
"They will love DCE," he said.
"He's showed last year what a player he is in the Maroons jersey. He is a more experienced player, a more settled player, he is in a strong leadership group. They are going to love him, absolutely love him."