WHERE NEXT? Daly Cherry-Evans.

What’s next in rep football for DCE?

IN A week when the attention of most rugby league fans is focused on State of Origin and the two selected teams, I have been casting a thought or two in the direction of Daly Cherry-Evans.

For a 27-year-old with 135 NRL games on his CV, plus an appearance for the Kangaroos in his debut season, Cherry-Evans has become the forgotten man of rep footy. Forgotten by selectors that is, but not by some of the nasty headline writers.

To jolt some memories, DCE had a remarkable 2011 breakout season in the NRL.

Called in to the Sea Eagles No.7 as a rookie when Trent Hodkinson defected to the Bulldogs in 2011, he played all 27 games, including a winning grand final.

And at the end of that year he was a member of the victorious Australian Four Nations squad.

Cherry-Evans has since played 10 more Tests for the Kangaroos and made six Origin appearances for Queensland. And in a herculean effort, he has missed just eight games for the Sea Eagles in his six seasons in the top grade, and three of those absentees have been this year.

Yet DCE no longer comes in to calculations when the rep teams are being selected. When Darren Lockyer retired at the end of that 2011 season and Cooper Cronk ascended to the Maroons starting team, Cherry-Evans was earmarked as his successor.

But now it seems that a host of halves, including Michael Morgan, Anthony Milford, Ben Hunt, Moses Mybe, Corey Norman and maybe even baby-faced Ash Taylor, are ahead of him in the Maroons' pecking order.

And with Johnathan Thurston and Cronk seemingly ageless despite being in their early 30s, and hell-bent on playing another couple of seasons, DCE may not get a look in again. Or will he?

While all and sundry write him off, and others take cheap pot shots at him, what happens if either JT or Cronk - or both - is injured during the coming series?

With Milford and Hunt unavailable, does coach Walters take a punt on the untried Mbye or Norman, or would he go back to Cherry-Evans.

No doubt DCE has been really harshly treated, particularly by some sections of the media after his decision last year to backflip on a commitment to join the Titans.

Agreed, it was murky and it was dishonourable, but all he did was play within the ludicrous rules laid down by the NRL.

But after reading an article at the weekend on his partner Vessa Rockliff, the mother of his two children, maybe DCE now regrets that decision to renege on his move north. When asked what other club colours she would like to see her partner wearing, she said the Titans.

Go figure.

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