Lining up against NRL premiers North Queensland, Daly Cherry-Evans relished the chance to gauge his season progress.
He didn’t like what he saw.
“Individually I wasn’t up to it against them,” he said of Manly’s last round 34-18 loss to the Cowboys at Brookvale Oval.
It was a humbling admission barely 12 months after being named Queensland’s starting No.7, albeit as an injured Cooper Cronk’s replacement.
Yet it has not stopped Cherry-Evans from getting the yardstick out again ahead of Saturday night’s Suncorp Stadium clash with Brisbane.
Finally over ankle and knee ailments, Cherry-Evans says he will relish the chance to test himself against Brisbane halves Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford with Origin again looming.
“I do enjoy those battles,” he said.
“Before the bye I played JT (Johnathan Thurston) and Michael Morgan and that was a great challenge – they are playing outstanding footy.
“I get another personal challenge against two of arguably the best two young halves in Queensland (Hunt and Milford).”
Cherry-Evans won’t be the only hard marker on Saturday night.
Queensland selectors will run the rule over Cherry-Evans as they look to finalise a team for the Origin series opener in Sydney on June 1.
Despite missing three games this year to injury, Cherry-Evans believes he has not left his Origin run too late.
He appears well down the pecking order after failing to don the Maroons jumper since that Origin II appearance wearing the Queensland No.7 jersey last June.
He not only failed to earn a starting spot for last year’s series decider, he couldn’t even budge Morgan for the bench utility job.
But a revitalised Cherry-Evans still dares to dream.
“It’s the dream of every kid growing up in Queensland,” he said of Origin selection.
“I have been fortunate enough to taste it but also unfortunate enough to lose it.
“I understand it doesn’t last forever and I understand how important it is not just to me but also the state of Queensland.
“If I can play at a standard that deserves a jersey then I can’t wait for that opportunity.”