Origin coaches Brad Fittler and Kevin Walters have both thrown up selection shocks as they named their teams for the game three dead rubber in Brisbane.
Maroons end DCE exile
Three years in the State of Origin wilderness are officially over for Daly Cherry-Evans after the Manly skipper was recalled for July 11’s dead rubber in Brisbane.
Cherry-Evans will replace halfback Ben Hunt, who moves to the interchange bench for the revamped Maroons led by new skipper Billy Slater.
Veteran fullback Slater will become the Maroons’ 14th captain in his 31st and final Origin match, replacing Greg Inglis (broken thumb).
With Inglis to be ruled out, which I understand is likely, Billy Slater will become captain! What a great way to finish an Origin career.
— Chris Garry (@ChrisGarry7) July 1, 2018
The Maroons were forced to delay their scheduled Sunday night game three team announcement until Monday after Inglis broke down in South Sydney’s NRL win over North Queensland.
Daley cherry evans named in the queensland team
Clean sweep confirmed
— Alex Sergacome (@Alex_AMS96) July 1, 2018
Queensland were also hit by injuries to bench utility Kalyn Ponga (hamstring) and prop Dylan Napa (knee), who was named at 18th man but not expected to play.
“He’s been knocking on the door for several years now for that elusive opportunity and I just feel the time is right for that opportunity,” Queensland coach Kevin Walters said of Cherry-Evans’ recall.
Cherry-Evans slots in for Hunt who was criticised for his attacking options with NSW a man down in the final 10 minutes of Queensland’s 18-14 game two loss.
Queensland will select Daly Cherry-Evans at halfback for Game III, wrong decision in my opinion.
It’s a dead rubber, I think blooding Ash Taylor to see how he handles the Origin arena would put the Maroons in much better stint to give the 2019 Origin series a red hot crack.
— Jack Blyth (@jblesfooty224) July 1, 2018
Cherry-Evans played the last of his six Origins back in 2015, fuelling speculation that the polarising Sea Eagles playmaker had fallen out with the Maroons.
Asked if Cherry-Evans had fallen out with the Maroons, Walters said: “I have denied those rumours from day dot.
“The dealings with him over my time I have never had a problem with him and neither do any of the players.
“If DCE can have a good performance on Wednesday week there is no reason why he can’t be back next year.”
Walters has endured a nightmare start to life without retired Maroons greats Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston as he looks to send out retiring Maroons great Slater a winner.
Walter hoped Slater’s elevation as skipper would help the Maroons avoid suffering their first NSW whitewash since 2000 and fourth overall in Origin history.
“Regardless of the result Billy is a winner. It’s a really special moment for him captaining his state at Suncorp Stadium in his last game for Queensland,” Walters said.
“The other 16 players owe Billy Slater a send off that is just right for him. I know you don’t always get what you want but certainly we have plenty to play for.”
Inglis’ injury forced a backline reshuffle with Dane Gagai switching to the centres with Brisbane’s Corey Oates recalled on the wing.
Gold Coast’s Jai Arrow has moved from the bench to prop for Napa while Josh Papalii also graduated to the starting front row with maligned Queensland prop Jarrod Wallace on the bench.
Meanwhile, Fittler has brought Dragons enforcer Tariq Sims into his side for Matt Prior.
Ryan James is 18th man as cover for Boyd Cordner, who is under an injury cloud with a calf complaint.
NSW Blues team for State of Origin III
1. James Tedesco (Sydney Roosters)
2. Tom Trbojevic (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
3. Latrell Mitchell (Sydney Roosters)
4. James Roberts (Brisbane Broncos)
5. Josh Addo-Carr (Melbourne Storm)
6. James Maloney (Penrith Panthers)
7. Nathan Cleary (Penrith Panthers)
8. David Klemmer (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
9. Damien Cook (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
10. Paul Vaughan (St George Illawarra Dragons)
11. Boyd Cordner (c) (Sydney Roosters)
12. Tyson Frizell (St George Illawarra Dragons)
13. Jack de Belin (St George Illawarra Dragons)
14. Tariq Sims (St George Illawarra Dragons)
15. Jake Trbojevic (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
16. Angus Crichton (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
17. Tyrone Peachey (Penrith Panthers)
18. Ryan James (Gold Coast Titans)
Coach: Brad Fittler
Queensland Maroons team for State of Origin III
1. Billy Slater (c) (Melbourne Storm)
2. Valentine Holmes (Cronulla Sharks)
3. Dane Gagai (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
4. Will Chambers (Melbourne Storm)
5. Corey Oates (Brisbane Broncos)
6. Cameron Munster (Melbourne Storm)
7. Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly Sea Eagles)
8. Jai Arrow (Gold Coast Titans)
9. Andrew McCullough (Brisbane Broncos)
10. Josh Papalii (Canberra Raiders)
11. Gavin Cooper (North Queensland Cowboys)
12. Felise Kaufusi (Melbourne Storm)
13. Josh McGuire (Brisbane Broncos)
14. Ben Hunt (St George Illawarra Dragons)
15. Jarrod Wallace( Gold Coast Titans
16. Coen Hess (North Queensland Cowboys)
17. Tim Glasby (Melbourne Storm)
18. Dylan Napa (Sydney Roosters)
Coach: Kevin Walters