Daly Cherry-Evans’ three-year exile from the State of Origin arena is finally over.
The New South Wales Blues and Queensland Maroons have made a number of shock changes for next week’s dead rudder at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.
With the series already wrapped up by the Blues, the Maroons will play for pride while NSW can claim their first series clean sweep in 18 years.
Matt Prior’s one match Origin career for the Blues was shortlived, dumped in favour of St George in-form backrower Tariq Sims.
Sims has been named on the bench to make his Origin debut but could get a call-up to the starting side if inspirational Blues captain Boyd Cordner is ruled out by the calf injury suffered in the dying minutes of game two in Sydney a week ago.
Daly Cherry-Evans, pictured with wife Vesna, will return to the Origin area after being overlooked for the last three series
Queensland were forced to several changes with injuries to winger Kalyn Ponga and skipper Greg Inglis.
Dane Gagai will make the switch from the wing into the centres while winger Corey Oates returns for the Maroons.
Melbourne Storm forward Tim Glasby who debuted for the Maroons last year, gets his first look in this year’s series and will start from the bench.
Veteran fullback Billy Slater will lead Queensland for the first time in Inglis’s absence.
Manly halfback Cherry-Evans is a surprise call-up for game three after he was snubbed for the first two games, despite the representative retirements of Johnathan Thurston and Cameron Smith.
Cherry-Evans has had a reported history of clashing with teammates at both club and Queensland Origin levels.
He replaces Ben Hunt, who was demoted to the bench following several brain snaps in game two that allowed the Blues back into the match and later clinch the series.
‘It’s great news for DCE (Cherry-Evans) and Queensland. He’s been knocking on the door for a few years now for that elusive opportunity and I just feel that the time is right,’ Maroons coach Kevin Walters said.
‘Nothing is a free hit in Origin. We’ve picked him for a reason – we want to win game three. Moving forward, if DCE can have a good performance on Wednesday week there’s no reason he can’t be back here next year.’
Tariq Sims, pictured with his wife Ashleigh, will make his NSW Blues debut on July 11
Corey Oates, pictured with his wife Tegan, returns for the Maroons on the wing
His shock selection comes after former Manly teammate Anthony Watmough recently called Cherry-Evans a f***wit in an explosive radio interview.
The former NSW Blues and Australian representative back-rower didn’t hold back during a lengthy and brutally frank interview with Hello Sports Podcast last month which he claimed his former teammate ‘turned into a f***wit’ after making his NRL debut in 2011.
‘They (the board) really took a liking to Cherry-Evans. So after 2011, Dessie (former coach Des Hasler) left and so I sort of heard whispers, well it wasn’t whispers, it was on the back page of the f***ing paper (DCE demanding more money),’ Watmough claimed on the podcast.
‘We had a team meeting, I told Chezza to stay back and I said, ‘Mate, what’s this we hear about what I’m reading in the papers?’ ‘I said, ‘Mate, you just signed a f***ing four-year deal, you turn up to training.’ He goes, ‘Nup. My manager told me not to.’
Melbourne Storm Tim Glasby, pictured with his wife Casey, will make his return to the Maroons after being 18th man for the first two games
Watmough then reminded Cherry-Evans that he and other senior teammates had made sacrifices to stay at the club, which fell on deaf ears.
‘He just looked me straight in the eye and went, ‘Nah, not turning up.’ So I just went, ‘F*** you,’ Watmough said.
‘So I’ve walked out and went to Tooves (coach Geoff Toovey) and said ‘don’t give him any money. You’ve got him by the balls. If he doesn’t turn up to training, fine him’.
‘And Tooves just succumbed to the board, next thing we know he’s up around the $500,000 mark after being on $50,000.’
Game three of the 2018 State of Origin series is on July 11 at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.
New South Wales Blues
1. James Tedesco, 2. Tom Trbojevic, 3. Latrell Mitchell, 4. James Roberts, 5. Josh Addo-Carr, 6. James Maloney, 7. Nathan Cleary, 8. David Klemmer, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Paul Vaughan, 11. Boyd Cordner (c), 12. Tyson Frizell, 13. Jack de Belin, 14. Tariq Sims, 15. Jake Trbojevic, 16. Angus Crichton, 17. Tyrone Peachey
18th man Ryan James
1. Billy Slater (c) 2. Valentine Holmes 3. Dane Gagai 4. Will Chambers 5. Corey Oates 6. Cameron Munster 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Jai Arrow 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Josh Papalii 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Felise Kaufusi 13, Josh McGuire 14. Ben Hunt 15. Jarrod Wallace 16. Coen Hess 17. Tim Glasby
18th man Dylan Napa
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