DCE opens up on ‘good question’ about Maroons future

Evergreen Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans is aging like a fine wine and the bottle still has some more drops left in it, for 2023 at least.

As for whether the 35-year-old half will continue to put his hand up for the Maroons while he is still in the NRL, only the man himself can answer that.

“It is a good question,” Cherry-Evans said ahead of his 23rd State of Origin match.

“It is year-to-year. Last year I started to think about those sorts of things just because of the physical and emotional exertion that comes from this. It is huge.

“By the end of the series I am bloody tired. I am getting older. I am more aware of it but it is obviously not this year. Next year we will just have to wait and see.”

Daly Cherry-Evans and teammates train in Brisbane ahead of Origin I in Sydney. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

Cherry-Evans has played his last 15 Origin games consecutively, all as captain of the Maroons. He has won three series out of five as skipper.

The reason he keeps coming back for more is simple.

“I am loving it so much in here (in camp). I am loving what this group does, the way we train and the way we learn off each other,” he said.

“It is just a really good place to be.

“What this group has created over the last few years is really special. There are so many good people involved and it makes you want to keep going and keep getting success for Queensland.

“I love my time in camp as much as ever and I still get just as nervous on a Sunday waiting for the phone to ring.”

When the Manly captain, on contract until the end of 2025, finally rides off into the Origin sunset he will be assured that the Maroons are in good hands.

Daly Cherry-Evans holds up the Origin shield after the 2023 series. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS)

Sydney Roosters No.7 Sam Walker is waiting in the wings as are Brisbane’s Ezra Mam and North Queensland’s Tom Dearden, his halves partner in Wednesday night’s clash with NSW in Sydney in the absence of the injured Cameron Munster.

He doesn’t feel their hot breath on the back of his neck to hang onto his spot.

“Respectfully, it is an awareness more than it is a pressure. I am aware of circumstances,” Cherry-Evans said.

“I watch a lot of footy. I enjoy rugby league. So I get it when people are playing well and young Queensland halves are doing well.

“Do I see it as a pressure? No I don’t. I just believe in my ability to come in here and help the side. It is great for Queensland that young halves are playing well.

“Even here, standing as a Queensland halfback, that is not a threat. That is good for Queensland because my time is going to be coming to an end soon. It is great that they are hopefully ready to play for Queensland soon.”

Cherry-Evans deserves his position in the team. He it is a no-brainer of a selection and for a very good reason. He is still at the top of his game.

“Experience brings a lot of confidence in what you can do for the team,” he said.

“I will be leaning into that to bring the best footy for Queensland and the team.”