Cherry-Evans named 18th man for Qld Origin side
FORMER Sunshine Coast and Mackay product Daly Cherry-Evans has been named Queensland's 18th man for the State of Origin opener on June 5.
Cherry-Evans was part of a 19-strong Maroons squad announced by coach Mal Meninga in Brisbane tonight.
The Manly halfback is in the squad as cover for Johnathan Thurston, whose partner is due to give birth on game day.
Kingaroy junior and South Sydney Rabbitohs star Chris McQueen is the new face in the Maroons' 17.
Maroons winger Darius Boyd has been cleared of serious injury but remains in doubt for the series opener with an ankle injury.
The Melbourne Storm's Justin O'Neill is on standby.
Coach Mal Meninga said Queensland believed it needed more mobility around the middle of the park so that's why it had picked the team it had picked.
Captain Cameron Smith said Meninga had been doing a great job in preparation.
"But most of our preparation is in ourselves and knowing we are ready to go next Wednesday,'' he said.
Meninga has told News Ltd he would support moves for Ben Te'o to be stood down for Origin I if Queensland police or the NRL's integrity unit take action against the back-rower.
Te'o was last night controversially named for the series opener on Wednesday week, despite an ongoing NRL probe into allegations the Souths forward assaulted Brisbane woman Katie Lewis.
Meninga said Te'o was entitled to the presumption of innocence.
Last week, former Queensland star Chris Flannery has jumped on the Daly Cherry-Evans for State of Origin bandwagon.
Coast-based Flannery says there is not a more in-form player in the game than the Manly No.7 and former Sunshine Coast Sea Eagle.
He described Cherry-Evans as a "cool and tough customer" who, like himself, could play in the backs or forwards for Queensland - in what he predicted would be a very close series.
"I think he's definitely a good man to have on the bench, and have three forwards there to add a bit of firepower," Flannery said.
Maroons coach Mal Meninga and chairman of selectors Des Morris have highlighted the advantages of having Cherry-Evans - 18th man for game one last season - on the bench.
Meninga said Cherry-Evans could play halfback, five-eighth, hooker and second row.
The Origin opener is at ANZ Stadium on June 5. The Maroons have won the past seven series.
Queensland team for game one in Sydney:
1. Billy Slater (Melbourne Storm)
2. Darius Boyd (Newcastle Knights)
3. Greg Inglis (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
4. Justin Hodges (Brisbane Broncos)
5. Brent Tate (North Queensland Cowboys)
6. Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland Cowboys)
7. Cooper Cronk (Melbourne Storm)
8. Matt Scott (North Queensland Cowboys)
9. Cameron Smith (c) (Melbourne Storm)
10. David Shillington (Canberra Raiders)
11. Nate Myles (Gold Coast Titans)
12. Sam Thaiday (Brisbane Broncos)
13. Ashley Harrison (Gold Coast Titans)
14. Corey Parker (Brisbane Broncos)
15. Matt Gillett (Brisbane Broncos)
16. Ben Te'o (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
17. Chris McQueen (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
18. Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly Sea Eagles)
19. Josh Papalii (Canberra Raiders)
Coach: Mal Meninga