AAP Rugby

DCE ready to make Qld No.7 his own

By AAP Newswire

The last time Daly Cherry-Evans played State of Origin, the halfback felt he was simply holding onto the Queensland No.7 jersey for an absent Cooper Cronk.

Now the Manly skipper wants to make it his own.

Cherry-Evans ended three years in the Origin wilderness when he answered an SOS from an injury-hit Queensland to replace Ben Hunt at halfback for July 11's Origin III.

The Sea Eagles leader played the last of his six Origins in game two 2015.

Back then Cherry-Evans was given the Maroons No.7 jersey after Cronk went down with a knee injury.

But he didn't truly feel it was his.

"I got two opportunities to play for Queensland in the No.7 jersey and I felt both times in my own head I felt as though I was just filling a spot," Cherry-Evans said.

"I certainly got lost trying to be someone else last time I was playing.

"It was probably down to how much respect I had for the people playing and the person's spot I was filling in for (Cronk).

"This time around no one has a stranglehold on the Queensland No.7 jersey."

At 29, Cherry-Evans said he was ready to embrace what looms as his last shot at being Maroons halfback.

"Anyone playing halfback in the Origin arena is going to have a dark cloud over their head, that just comes with the territory," he smiled.

"But I think I am a lot more ready than a couple of years ago when I was given an opportunity."

Queensland coach Kevin Walters has demanded Cherry-Evans take control of the team in Origin III after Hunt's much criticised game-two display.

After being thrown the keys by Walters, Cherry-Evans said he would have no problem steering the Maroons around.

"I would like to think that when I have played halfback for Manly the last few seasons I have been able to take control of the side," he said.

"I know once I am confident with the gameplan and what we are trying to achieve out there the easy part for me is to go out there and execute that.

"I understand it won't come to me too easy but my job is to go out there and lead the side around so I am looking forward to that."

Queensland have recalled Cherry-Evans as they try to avoid NSW's first series whitewash since 2000 and only fourth overall.