The switch that turned DCE into rep mainstay
HE'S now Australia's vice-captain but Daly Cherry-Evans once feared his representative career was over when the likes of Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston were available for selection.
Ahead of Friday's Test match against New Zealand in Wollongong, the 30-year-old Manly skipper has opened up about doubting himself during his representative hiatus, and how he regained form.
Between 2014 and last season Cherry-Evans did not play for the Kangaroos, and he played just two State of Origin games in four years for the Maroons during the same period.
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Too concerned about when Queensland and Kangaroos superstars Cronk and Thurston would retire, Cherry-Evans says he was getting in his own way before he realised he had no control over when they would hang up their boots.
And that's when the magic happened.
"I did get caught up in that for a couple of years, but when I became a bit older, a bit wiser and a bit more experienced, I probably took a step back and understood how good these players were in front of me," he said.
"I just sort of really tried to stop worrying about what I couldn't control and that was how long they were going to play for.
"Once I did that I found my footy really changed. I was less concerned about what other people were doing and more about how I could help my team and the team I was currently in.
"With that little mindset shift it certainly helped me, and then when the time was right, I ended up making my way back into the rep sides and I'm enjoying every moment of it now."
With future Immortals in front of him in the pecking order for both state and country, he was forced to bide his time.
During his break from the representative scene, Cherry-Evans was handed the Sea Eagles captaincy, and he was then named Queensland skipper this year following Billy Slater's retirement.
The 2019 season in particular has been one of the best of his career as he helped the Sea Eagles to sixth position on the ladder despite a devastating injury toll.
"I was so lucky to be involved in camps, even as an 18th man or coming off the bench, I got to learn off some of the greatest players that we've ever seen," he said.
"I'd like to think that I definitely took some of their leadership skills and displayed them in camp this week and over my time earlier in the year at Origin camp."