Maroons’ shock SOS call to Origin reject
THE long wait by the phone may finally be over for Daly Cherry-Evans.
Three years since he last got the call from Queensland, Cherry-Evans is reportedly set to make a State of Origin comeback in July 11's dead rubber by replacing maligned halfback Ben Hunt.
Cherry-Evans will have to wait for an official nod after Queensland's Sunday night team announcement was delayed until Monday after captain Greg Inglis (broken thumb) was ruled out.
Manly skipper Cherry-Evans appeared set for another year in the Origin wilderness when he was overlooked for the first two games.
The Sea Eagles playmaker couldn't get a look-in despite Queensland's shocking injury toll and the retirement of Maroons greats Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston.
Breaking: Daly cherry-evans has just received a phone call informing him he is the maroons’ No 7 for Origin 3. Pressure is now on him to deliver once and for all as an Origin playmaker @cmail_sport— pete badel (@badel_cmail) July 1, 2018
It seemed only to reinforce speculation that Cherry-Evans had fallen out with the Maroons when he played the last of his six Origins in 2015. There has long been a train of thought he would never play Origin again because he is reportedly disliked by the playing group.
However, Maroons coach Kevin Walters appears to have sent Cherry-Evans an SOS after Hunt's much-criticised display in Queensland's 18-14 game two loss. Walters' call would no doubt have been worth the wait for the polarising Cherry- Evans.
"Every game I wait by the phone so we'll see what happens," Cherry-Evans said of his Origin III chances after Manly's 18-10 NRL win over Penrith on Saturday.
Cherry-Evans is set to take over from St George Illawarra playmaker Hunt, who was savaged for his inability to exploit NSW being a man down in the final 10 minutes of Origin II, with the game and series on the line.
He also conceded the first Origin penalty try in 37 years.
However, Hunt did receive some last-minute support from the likes of Thurston and Gorden Tallis.
Ex-Queensland skipper Tallis said Hunt had been unfairly targeted after his infamous third-tackle grubber in game two that went dead while Blues centre James Roberts was in the sin bin.
"One brain explosion should not spell the end of his career in the Maroons No. 7 jersey," Tallis told News Corp Australia.
"Some people have suggested Daly Cherry-Evans should come in. But look at where Manly are on the ladder (13th).
"We don't make changes because someone has made one mistake."
Cherry-Evans had initially been linked to Queensland's bench utility vacancy after Kalyn Ponga (hamstring) was ruled out of game three on Sunday. Billy Slater is tipped to skipper Queensland in his 31st and final Origin after Inglis' injury.
Prop Dylan Napa is also under an injury cloud after hurting his knee in the Roosters' loss to Melbourne on Friday night.