Daly Cherry-Evans declared himself "100 per cent fit" and ready to line up in State of Origin I before being named captain of Queensland by the Maroons on Monday night.
Cherry-Evans takes over the captaincy following the retirements of Greg Inglis, who led the side in the first two Origin games last season, and Billy Slater, who captained Queensland to victory in Origin III last year.
The Sea Eagles skipper played a key role in the Maroons' game three win at Suncorp Stadium in his return to Origin after a three-year absence.
Cherry-Evans hasn't played for Manly since round seven this season but will return in next week's Origin series opener after successfully recovering from the ankle surgery he underwent five weeks ago.
"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.
Match: Maroons v Blues
Game 1 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
- Nine Network
"[The recovery] is obviously going really well and the fact that Kevvie has selected me shows how productive the last couple of weeks have been, so there are really good signs.
"When I came out at the start [of the recovery] and said that I was going to be ready I probably put myself under more pressure than I understood, because there was so much work to be done. I guess that challenge really excited me. I understood what was at stake and the opportunity ahead for Queensland, so I was definitely happy to put in the work. I am pumped to be here."
Cherry-Evans was ecstatic to be named captain.
“It’s such a proud moment," he said.
"You grow up as a kid just wanting to play a game. To dream about being the captain of this great state, it’s a very humble moment for more than just myself.
“To be able to call my mum and dad and tell them this afternoon and my partner, they are special moments I will never forget.
"Being named captain is extremely nice but to a degree it is an individual honour, and I can guarantee you now I would much prefer to be holding the shield up than this moment of just being named captain.
"It sits alongside some of my proudest moments."
Walters said Cherry-Evans' recovery was a tribute to the power of belief and to the character of the 30-year-old.
"I always believed DCE could get his recovery right, but when you believe it, really believe it, it can come true," Walters said.
"He had surgery five weeks ago and he has done everything possible to get it right. The doctors and physios are shaking their heads. It's a credit to him. Sometimes his character has been judged, but there is his character on show right there… doing what he has to do to get his ankle right to play for Queensland."
Cherry-Evans has only played seven times for Queensland and spent several years out of the side before being recalled in game three last year to lead the team to an 18-12 win. Walters said he was now a more mature player and person and that the state would embrace him 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.
"The way he walked into camp last year there was an instant connection between myself and him, and also the team. We sat down and had a good conversation and I walked away from that meeting thinking 'this guy is going to play well'.
"He did that and he has been the best half in the competition this year."
Being back in the side, and such an integral member of it, is an opportunity Cherry-Evans intends to embrace.
"You count your lucky stars in rugby league but you also have to make sure that you back yourself and stay persistent in anything you believe in," he said.
"I have always mentioned that I have a lot of faith in myself and my ability. I am not surprised I am here, but I am very grateful that I have another opportunity to play for Queensland."