Daly Cherry-Evans hasn’t played for the Kangaroos since 2014 but Mal Meninga has backed him to return. Picture: Jono Searle
Daly Cherry-Evans hasn’t played for the Kangaroos since 2014 but Mal Meninga has backed him to return. Picture: Jono Searle

DCE inching towards Kangaroos redemption

DALY Cherry-Evans is on the verge of a Kangaroos call-up for the first time since 2014 as

Australian coach Mal Meninga declares the Manly halfback has put his "demons'' behind him.

For so long Cherry-Evans was earmarked as the long-term replacement to the likes of Cooper Cronk and Jonathan Thurston. Now the Manly halfback is set to get his chance.

Cherry-Evans will be named to play this week in the Prime Minister's XIII clash against PNG in Port Moresby next month. Australian coach Mal Meninga said Cherry-Evans was in the frame to wear the No. 7 jersey when the Kangaroos play Tests against New Zealand and Tonga.

Barring injury, Cameron Munster will wear the No.6 jersey, leaving Cherry-Evans and James Maloney to fight it out for the halfback spot.

There are concerns regarding Maloney's fitness as he battles a neck injury, but even if he is cleared to play he is no certainty to claim the starting spot.

Cherry-Evans played the last of his 11 Tests four years ago before being cast aside by representative selectors. He returned to the Origin arena this year, going close to nabbing man of the match honours for Queensland in the final game of the interstate series,

"I was very impressed with him at Origin," Meninga said. "He was not man of the match but he was very closed. I loved his involvement and the way he directed the team. His kicking game was excellent and his performance culminated in a super try.

"He has the experience and leadership qualities. His club has had lots of issues but he has had a pretty successful and consistent year."

 

Daly Cherry-Evans in action for the Kangaroos against New Zealand in 2014.
Daly Cherry-Evans in action for the Kangaroos against New Zealand in 2014.

 

It was Meninga who handed Cherry-Evans his Origin debut in 2013. Meninga will take a blend of Kangaroos hopefuls and junior Kangaroos when they travel to Port Moresby.

Cherry-Evans is in line to skipper the squad.

"We felt he was the next half to come through in the system." Meninga said. "Unfortunately it didn't work out that way.

"(Cherry-Evans) put all those demons and innuendo behind him that he has been living through hand come up with a good Origin performance.

"He cemented his spot in the Queensland team I would say. It tells me a lot about his growth as a player and person."

Among those who are expected to play in PNG include David Klemmer, Jake Trbojevic, Jordan McLean, Regan Campbell-Gillard, Josh McGuire and Josh Papalii.

 

Daly Cherry Evans will hope to return to the Kangaroos fold at the end of the year. Picture: Mark Cranitch
Daly Cherry Evans will hope to return to the Kangaroos fold at the end of the year. Picture: Mark Cranitch

 

Tyrone Peachey is also a chance. St George Illawarra back-rower Tyson Frizell will be picked for Australia but may be rested from the PNG match after a gruelling season.

His Dragons teammate Ben Hunt expected to play as a hooker and could be the Kangaroos utility.

"He played that utility role in the third Origin and played really well," Meninga said. "That's where we've played him in the past. Whether Benny likes it or not we feel like he can play a really valuable role off the bench."

James Tedesco will make his Test debut at fullback while Damien Cook will be the Kangaroos hooker. Others in line to play their first Test include Latrell Mitchell, Josh Addo-Carr and Angus Crichton while the selectors remain hopeful Tom Trbojevic (fractured cheekbone) could be cleared to play.



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