BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 09: Daly Cherry-Evans of the Maroons makes a break for the Maroons opening try during game three of the State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at Suncorp Stadium on July 9, 2014 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Kevin Walters and his Maroons brains trust have combined to name a vastly different side for their Origin III contest next Wednesday night.

Captain Greg Inglis has been forced out of the contest, and a chance to captain his side on home turf for the first time, and is replaced in the squad by Corey Oates. Oates will move to the wing allowing Dane Gagai to take up his preferred role in the centres.

Billy Slater will captain the side in his final Origin game, a fitting farewell for an absolute legend of the game. He has dominated this arena for almost a decade and I cannot think of a better way to say goodbye, despite the unfortunate circumstances that have lead to it happening.

Elsewhere Tim Glasby has been brought into the side with Dylan Napa moved to 18th man. This likely has more to do with an injury concern to Napa than a loss of form however Napa has struggled to reach the levels expected of him in the opening two games of the series.

The Maroons will run with an all new starting front row with Jai Arrow and Josh Papalii moving into the middle at the expense of Napa (18th man) and Jarrod Wallace, who has been benched.

Despite the raft of changes mentioned above, the biggest call, and potentially the biggest shock, came when Daly Cherry-Evans was named in the halfback role.

Cherry-Evans has become the forgotten man in Queensland Origin circles over the years and despite a pretty handy season for the struggling Sea Eagles is hardly setting the competition alight.

Anthony Milford, who had an absolute blinder on Saturday night, was overlooked for a more organisational half with a stronger kicking game in DCE.

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The move has seen Ben Hunt shifted to the bench where he will likely fill a role in the number nine. The hope will be that his inclusion will provide some spark that Andrew McCullough has been unable to produce.

There are plenty of positives in the decision to recall Cherry-Evans to the Origin arena, mainly his past experience and his obvious talents, but I can’t help but think perhaps Kevin Walters and co. have missed a trick.

Surely this was a chance to blood 23-year-old Ash Taylor.

Given that the series is already gone, the pressure is off. Of course Queensland will want to win this game to save face in front of a big home crowd and send Billy Slater out on the back of a victory, but it’s impossible to match the same intensity of a live game in a dead rubber.

The game is to be played in front of a Maroon-dominated Suncorp Stadium, in a potential party atmosphere given the series is gone and the occasion. Queensland will be looking for blue blood without the pressure of a series being on the line.

Ash Taylor is absolutely carving it up for an otherwise pretty ordinary Titans side and surely has plenty of Origin in his future.

This looks an amazing, dare I say perfect, time to blood the youngster.

Queensland are crying out for a halfback who take the game by the scruff of the neck and dictate terms. Ash Taylor has one of the best kicking games in the NRL right now. He is a try assist machine from the boot and can create pressure through forcing goal-line drop outs and repeat sets.

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‘But so can DCE’ I hear you cry.

Yes, but Ash Taylor is a fresh option whereas DCE has been tried at this level.

I made no secret of the fact I thought it was time to move on from Mitchell Pearce after his failed Origin stints. I feel the same here with Cherry-Evans. I think Taylor’s form has been superior to that of DCE’s.

I wouldn’t have dropped Hunt, potentially crushing his confidence and future rep stocks, to bring in a player in decent form who spends more time in the social media trends for funny reasons than he does the Dally M votes.

No respect to DCE who just might come out and tear the Blues to shreds next Wednesday, but this was Ash Taylor’s time.

More than one of my QLD supporting ‘mates’ admitted to the fact they’d happily take a loss and a 3-0 series defeat in order to blood Taylor for future series. They too see the Titans superstar having a huge future in the contest.

This just seems like a ‘safe’ option with no real potential upside. DCE could come out and establish himself as the next great Origin half, it’s very VERY possible. But I wouldn’t bet on it.

The Blues have all the momentum and they have the shield wrapped up.

Take a punt on a player who could potentially lead Queensland for the next decade in a match that with all due respect doesn’t mean a whole lot.

Again, this was Ash Taylor’s time.


  1. Why not punt Munster. Very ordinary in both games, he has a spot locked up on one game where he was spoon fed by Smith and had the very reliable Cronk running the show, DCE can play with Hunt and/or Taylor, time for Munster to prove his worth without third Referee Smith on the field. The trick Kevvie missed was pushing him out to centre and bringing in a proper half. Munster has a poor kicking game at best, and has zero organisational ability. Not an origin half for a young spine.

  2. Next year QLD backline on current form should be; ( however 12 months is along time from now on football)
    1. Ponga
    2. Holmes
    3. Gagai
    4. Inglis
    5. Oates
    6. DCE
    7. Hunt

    14. Morgan

    If Hunt or DCE are out of form swap with Taylor if he is on form

  3. This was Ash Taylor’s time this was Ash taylors time say it again you fool Cherry Evans is twice as good as Taylor will ever be

  4. If QLD were smart you make the halves Taylor and Cherry-Evans. Munster is a fullback not a 6. And I don’t see how Taylor is the best option for QLD. Two running halves in Taylor and Munster would be a disater. Cherry is a better player then Taylor right now anyway.

    • I think those behind the Qld origin team are pretty smart, but also pretty desperate.

      I don’t think even you could argue that DCE has earned a spot, as opposed to the choices have dwindled down to his inclusion.

      DCE can be 1 of the best players in comp when he’s on song, but he can disappear just as quick. Lets put our NSW caps on in order to get on the same page, and I’ll admit DCE worries me. If he has a good game he can tear an opposition apart, so that worries me, but at the same time his good games are infrequent to say the least.

      You (Manly) have to build your team around him, but Qld only have to wear another “WTF were you thinking” call when they have very options this year.

      • Your comment regarding DCE going missing is not his fault. You put any half in our team they struggle. But as seen when he has a good team like 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2017 he is one best players in the comp. DCE is not different too other playmakers in the fact all go missing in struggling teams but the fact that in a struggling team this year he has still played well and earned a call up to origin, despite all the bulls*it surrounding him. That speaks volumes for his character and resilience.

        • Holmsey, and in all honesty, in the nicest possible way, I could also argue if you put a weak half / halves into a good squad, then the squad will fail, or at least be seriously weakened.

          Is DCE the victim or the cause? In all all honesty it has to fall somewhere in between. As per above, Qld have selected him based on dwindling options more so than DCE improving his form.

        • So your blaming the Manly problems on Daly? Come on mate thats not right and you know it. He is putting his best effort in every week with the side we have. He has no 6 like most other halves, a struggling backline and an injury hit pack yet his form has still been reasonable.

        • Holmsey, I think if you were to re read the comment above it is very clear I’m not blaming Manly’s poor form on DCE in isolation.

          I agree 100% with your last sentence, re no 6, injuries etc, and “his form has still been reasonable”. I think that sums it up, “reasonable”. A “reasonable” player at club level wouldn’t be high on my list of candidates for an origin selection.

          By simple comparison, take Jake T, now he has well and truely earned his selection for the Blues, and DCE got his call up because Qld are running low on options in the halves. They both play for the same club, and will both be playing origin next week, but doesn’t make them equal, irrespective of the different positions/squads.

        • A forwards form wont be impacted by the things that impact a half. Look at Klemmer. And if you believe it’s a process of elimination then it’s only Morgan who was playing poorly anyway. Everyone else is fair game he has beat Hunt, Milford, Norman, Taylor etc. For the 7 jersey. That didn’t just pick him out of a hat. They wanted a specific experienced 7 and they chose DCE, not forced to pick him.

  5. Yeah i reckon its better not to blood Ash in a dead rubber. Throw DCE to the wolves πŸ˜†
    And on a side note after tonights game, looks like Panthers have a pretty good future post Cleary. .. and Maloney. .. and Tyrone. πŸ˜‰

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