Former Queensland star jumps on the Cherry-Evans bandwagon
FORMER Queensland star Chris Flannery has jumped on the Daly Cherry-Evans for State of Origin bandwagon.
Coast-based Flannery says there is not a more in-form player in the game than the Manly No.7 and former Sunshine Coast Sea Eagle - so reward him with a spot on the Queensland bench for game one.
He described Cherry-Evans as a "cool and tough customer" who, like himself, could play in the backs or forwards for Queensland - in what he predicted would be a very close series.
"I think he's definitely a good man to have on the bench, and have three forwards there to add a bit of firepower," Flannery said.
Maroons coach Mal Meninga and chairman of selectors Des Morris have highlighted the advantages of having Cherry-Evans - 18th man for game one last season - on the bench.
Meninga said Cherry-Evans could play halfback, five-eighth, hooker and second row.
On Monday, Queensland announces its team for the Origin opener at ANZ Stadium on June 5. The Maroons have won the past seven series.
Former long-serving Rooster Flannery, whose 13-year top-flight career ended in England last season, was a member of the 2006 Queensland side that began the dynasty.
With Cooper Cronk moving from the bench to starting halfback last season following Darren Lockyer's retirement, the Maroons opted for an all-forwards bench in the series.
Bribie Island's Matt Gillett was assigned the interchange utility role.
Reigning Dally M Player of the Year Ben Barba, yet to recapture his best form after well-documented personal issues, is also a Maroons interchange possibility.
But Flannery said Barba and another bench contender, the Titans' Dave Taylor, did not have the form to warrant selection.
"I don't think he's (Barba) too far away," he said.