Cameron Smith insists captain DCE was never an outcast

As Daly Cherry-Evans prepares to lead the Maroons out as captain for the first time on Wednesday night, former Queensland skipper Cameron Smith insists the Manly halfback was never on the outer during his reign.

A lot had previously been made of Cherry-Evans in the Maroons setup, with suggestions he wasn't liked by the state's previous senior leadership group.

However Smith has moved to put those accusations to bed, adamant there was never any personality clashes between the players and Cherry-Evans that saw him cast aside.

"To squash some myths about the whole not fitting in, I don't know where that's come from," Smith told NRL.com.

"We used to have a bit of laugh about it in Queensland camp when people used to talk about Daly and not fitting in with the group.

"I just think it was quite a challenging time for him being in there with an unfamiliar role, one that wasn't really a specific role in the side we had. We knew he had to be in the 17 but he just had to come on and do his best to get involved."

Daly Cherry-Evans playing for Queensland in 2015.
Daly Cherry-Evans playing for Queensland in 2015. ©NRL Photos

Cherry-Evans was in the Origin wilderness for a period, struggling to make an impact in his first few games at representative level.

However Smith believes it was a result of having so many dominant voices in the team.

"He was playing in a team with Cooper, Johnno (Johnathan Thurston), myself, Greg Inglis – four guys that were very experienced players, particularly at that level and to be fair, quite dominant in those positions," Smith said.

"That probably made it a little bit challenging for him, but at no stage did he ever not fit in with our group while he was playing in those early days."

Smith applauded Cherry-Evans' ability to fight his way back into the Maroons fold after it looked like he would struggle to represent his state again.

He now finds himself with the captaincy responsibility and the support of arguably Queensland's greatest ever skipper.

"I think it's outstanding the journey he has been on, from the early days when he played for Queensland in an unfamiliar role off the bench," he said.

"Thinking back to that series when he debuted. We didn't really have a specific role for him. Which probably made it more difficult for Daly to come on and fill a role in that side. He just came on and was told get involved in attack and do your best in defence.

"From that moment in his career, to now being captain of Queensland, you have to give him a lot of credit. Firstly for his persistence and his ability to hang in and grow his leadership qualities at Manly, and to now have that No.7 Maroon jersey on his back. I think it's outstanding."

 

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