Slater labels young Cherry-Evans a future Maroons leader

Manly's Daly Cherry-Evans (center) is tackled by Leeds' Paul McShane during a World Club Challenge rugby league match in 2012.
Manly's Daly Cherry-Evans (center) is tackled by Leeds' Paul McShane during a World Club Challenge rugby league match in 2012. Tim Hales

MAROONS superstar fullback Billy Slater has declared Daly Cherry-Evans the man to lead Queensland into Origin's next generation.

With five-eighth Johnathon Thurston missing yesterday's training session with a virus, Cherry-Evans filled in admirably to lead the Maroons left-edge attack in an opposed session against the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles.

If Thurston was to miss the Origin opener, Slater said Cherry-Evans, who has been Queensland's 18th man for the past two series, had the full confidence of the Maroons players and coaching staff.

"He's a very mature young guy and you can see that in his footy," Slater said.

"He's enjoyed the occasion and fits in really well."

With Thurston confirming he will miss Origin I if his pregnant wife goes into labour before the match, Cherry-Evans would switch with Cooper Cronk to play halfback.

"He makes some great decisions and takes the line on when needed and Mal holds him in high regard to bring him in as 18th man and he's been in the system for a while now," Slater said.

Meanwhile winger Darius Boyd looked in great touch yesterday despite being under an injury cloud due to an ankle injury.

Confident Boyd would take the field for Wednesday night's origin opener, Slater said replacement winger Justin O'Neil could step in if required.

"Darbs (Boyd) has done everything possible to get on the field on Wednesday night," the star fullback said.

"If not, Justin's been in camp the whole time and he's been around for a few years now so he's a very handy replacement if needed."

Topics:  billy slater daly cherry-evans nrl queensland maroons rugby league state of origin 2013

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