Daly Cherry-Evans has put his hand up for Queensland’s vacant utility spot for State of Origin III, despite not being at full health.
An injury to Maroons supersub Michael Morgan in game two has re-opened the door for Manly star Cherry-Evans to be recalled to the Origin arena for the dead rubber in Sydney on Wednesday week.
However Cronulla excitement machine Ben Barba could also be a candidate for coach Kevin Walters, as is the option of adding a fourth bench forward in veteran Nate Myles or the untried Gavin Cooper.
But the 27-year-old Cherry-Evans is desperate to get back into the side.
“I’m definitely optimistic and definitely ambitious about getting back in the Origin arena,” he said.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen in coming weeks but if the spot’s available still, I’d always be willing to put on the Queensland jersey again no doubt.”
Whether Walters is willing to go back to an underdone Cherry-Evans is another question, after the Manly No.7 admitted he had yet to fully recover from his injury battles this season.
He was brought in as cover for Cooper Cronk for game one this year, but was released to re-join his club side, only to injure his ankle in a loss to Canberra that weekend.
Cherry-Evans, who also missed three games with a separate ankle injury earlier in the season, was sidelined for two more games before making a solid comeback against the Cowboys last week.
“I’m definitely feeling fit when it comes to regarding fitness,” he said.
“(But) unfortunately I’m carrying an injury that is not foreign to other players in the competition, nor my teammates.
“I’m going to have to do the best with what I’ve got this season and if Monday night’s anything to go by, I believe I can compete at a high level and play at a good standard of rugby league.”