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Cherry-Evans' dream after Test nightmare

Daly Cherry-Evans

Being named on Queensland's bench realised a dream for Maroons debutant Daly Cherry-Evans.
Cherry-Evans' dream after Test nightmare
by AAP

By Laine Clark

BRISBANE, June 19 AAP - Being named on Queensland's bench realised a dream for Maroons debutant Daly Cherry-Evans.

But the Manly playmaker would have been forgiven for thinking he was suffering a recurring nightmare.

Cherry-Evans, 24, was taking nothing for granted when named in Queensland's 17 for next week's must-win State of Origin game two clash in Brisbane.

The devastating experience of spending the entire 80 minutes of a 2012 Test against New Zealand sitting on the bench in Auckland ensured that.

And his nerves would not have been eased by his NSW equivalent in game one - bench utility Josh Reynolds - not being used by coach Laurie Daley.

It wasn't until he was told by the media that coach Mal Meninga had guaranteed him Origin II playing time that Cherry-Evans breathed a little easier.

"Oh, okay, that's very exciting," he beamed.

It was hard to look more pleased than Cherry-Evans but Queensland and Australian captain Cameron Smith was a close second after witnessing his Auckland heartbreak.

"I know that was a setback for him but he has come back well - I am excited for him," he said.

Cherry-Evans understandably did not want to dwell on his unique Test debut.

"It's not ideal," he said.

"But if you are a part of an Australian or Queensland side you just have to be grateful that you are there at times."

It seems Cherry-Evans' patience will again be tested.

As he dreams of wearing the Maroons No.7 jersey, he must cut his teeth as Maroons bench utility just as his predecessor - current halfback - Cooper Cronk did.

But unlike Cronk, Cherry-Evans will also be asked to cover the backrow and centres as well as the halves and hooker roles.

"We have had some great players fill that role in the past. It is a crucial role for us and the balance of our team," Meninga said.

"That is probably the road that Daly will follow - doing those hard jobs and earning the respect at Origin level until his chance comes to play that halfback role."

Meninga vowed Cherry-Evans would play next Wednesday night.

"His form warrants it. And he's been hanging around like a bad smell the last 12 months," Meninga laughed.




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