2022-07-13 23:11:00

It was Daly Cherry-Evans’ time to shine in the Suncorp Stadium series decider without Maroons halves partner Cameron Munster.

The Sea Eagles halfback had been largely overshadowed by Munster’s brilliance in Game I, before the Blues ran riot to level the series in Perth.

But on the biggest stage, Cherry-Evans stood tall, answering the call of rugby league pundits and emerging from the shadows of Queensland’s great halfbacks to stamp his claim amongst the best to ever wear the No.7 jersey.

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“Cherry-Evans is a rock solid player and he has had a lot of opportunities at Origin level, but has never really done it and grabbed the headlines,” Fox League’s Cooper Cronk said before Game III.

Speaking after the series decider, Cronk explained Cherry-Evans’ display was his finest performance of his entire career.

“He has had some big moments in his football career, but none bigger than tonight,” Cronk said.

“I know he has won a grand final and a best on ground in a losing grand final, but that was Cherry-Evans’ best performance.

“His 19th Origin game, 12th as captain and when the game was in the balance at 12-10, we all wax lyrical about what Nathan Cleary did it Game II, well that man on your screen did exactly the same thing.

“When they went down to 12 men, both teams, Daly Cherry-Evans literally kicked the ball down the other end and said Queensland forwards, this is how we are going to play and forced NSW on the back foot.

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“Congratulations to Cherry-Evans, he has done the jersey proud.”

Cherry-Evans steered the Maroons around the park and consistently had the Blues coming out of their own end with an excellent kicking display.

With only three more kicks than his NSW counterpart, Nathan Cleary, the Queensland No.7 recorded a staggering 275 more kicking metres than the Blues halfback to add to his try assist and two line break assists.

Cronk and Fox League’s Michael Ennis both commended the Manly playmaker’s captain’s knock.

“We spoke about it in pre-game that he needed to have a captain’s knock, he raised the bat and had a captain’s knock,” Cronk said.

“I think he led the way, and that is what you asked of him as a Queenslander as a captain’s knock, was to lead the way and I thought he did that,” Ennis said.

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“His kicking game was immaculate in the second half.”

“It is an astonishing honour to be a Queensland captain, you think of the names, Beetson, Lewis, Tallis, Meninga,” Fox League’s Yvonne Sampson said.

In 2015, Cherry-Evans was dropped from Meninga’s Maroons side and at that point it looked like his Origin career may be over.

But, after impressing for the Sea Eagles, Cherry-Evans forced his way back onto the Origin scene in 2018 and never looked back, playing in all three games since 2019.

“There were times we thought he wouldn’t play Origin again, he was on the outer of a really core group and here he is back leading his state in what will go down in history as one of the best,” Sampson said.

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Source by [graycupnews.com]

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