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A decade after making his Maroons debut off the bench for the greatest side in Origin history, Daly Cherry-Evans will pull on the iconic jersey for the 20th time in Adelaide on Wednesday night.

The road from one to 20 has had more than its share of potholes for the resilient and highly regarded Sea Eagle, including a two-year stint out of the side in 2016-17 as Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk extended Queensland's dominance to 11 series wins in 12 years.

Since his debut in Game Two of the 2013 series, Cherry-Evans has played 19 of a possible 29 Origin games, including the last 12 on the trot, all as skipper of his state.

“He's certainly come a long way, he's grown into the role,” said Thurston, who played his first 20 Origin games on the trot between 2005 and 2011, winning 13 of those matches.

Maroons v Blues: Game 1

“He's had to get back into the side too, he missed a couple of years there, but he fought his way back and he has been a mainstay and now he's captaining the Maroons.

“It's been a hell of an achievement for the kid from Mackay.

“It's a huge honour playing 20 games, he receives the Dick “Tosser” Turner Medal.

“I know that him and his family will be extremely proud of that achievement and they all should be. I know that I am.”

Daly Cherry-Evans with the Origin shield after the 2022 series.
Daly Cherry-Evans with the Origin shield after the 2022 series. ©NRL Images

That's high praise coming from one of the game's finest ever playmakers and a man whose record of 36 consecutive Origin appearances is unlikely to be broken.

Thurston came into the Maroons side a year before they began their remarkable eight-year dynasty, teaming with Darren Lockyer in the halves on 18 occasions before forming a partnership with Cronk after the Broncos legend retired in 2011.

Cherry-Evans, meanwhile, bided his time and took his opportunities when they presented themselves, playing all three games in a series loss in 2014 and one match in 2015 before his two-year exile.

Returning in the final game of the 2018 series, he scored a try to help Queensland avoid suffering a series sweep, before he took over as captain in 2019 and cemented his place in the team.

Under DCE's guidance the Maroons have won two of the past four series, including a miraculous triumph under Wayne Bennett in 2020 when they were given next to no chance of victory.

“I've had a fair bit to do with Daly as a player and now on the coaching staff, so I've certainly seen him grow into a great leader,” Thurston said.

Munster's man of the match performance

"He went away and worked on his game [for the two years he was out] and he's been outstanding for the Maroons since he's been back on the side.

“He's come a long way with his footy and he's very dominant on the field in respect of the playing group and he's passionate about the jersey, about the state and about the boys doing well.

“He leads from the front and he’s somebody when he talks so they, they all listen.”

Among those hanging off Cherry-Evans' every word in Adelaide will be halves partner Cameron Munster, a pivotal figure in the 2020 and 2022 successes with his instinctive brilliance and sheer will to win.

“Daly’s a great player and he’s been a great player for a long time,” said Munster. “He’s done a lot of good things for Queensland as a captain.

“Everyone wrote him off and there was a lot of speculation on whether he should be in the team or not, he’s proven those critics wrong, that’s what I love about him.

“Obviously, he’s got a really kicking game and if he can do that for us on Wednesday night and get the boys around the park, that’ll allow me and Reecey (Walsh) to do our thing and hopefully we can do that.”

DCE: 'We did it again'

With his place in Maroons history assured as the fourth most-capped captain behind Wally Lewis (30), Darren Lockyer (22), Cameron Smith (21), Cherry-Evans will look to mark his milestone game with a commanding performance in the pivotal opening game.

The only other time Origin was played at the iconic Adelaide Oval it was an unheralded Maroons side with eight debutants getting the job done in the 2020 series opener, so the omens are good.

Cherry-Evans was skipper that night and he'll again look to set the tone for his men as he adds another chapter to his Origin story.

Statistics courtesy of David Middleton - League Information Services

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Manly Warringah Sea Eagles respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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