Maroons sweat on Cherry-Evans’ fitness

Newly re-signed Queensland coach Mal Meninga admits it’s unclear whether Daly Cherry-Evans will be fit for next week’s rugby league State of Origin opener in Sydney.

Cherry-Evans was named as the utility bench player but was a notable absentee when the Maroons team was paraded in Brisbane on Tuesday.

The Manly playmaker is believed to be nursing a shoulder complaint from Monday night’s NRL clash with Penrith.

Meninga said he would know more once Cherry-Evans arrived in Brisbane on Tuesday afternoon.

Meninga said Cherry-Evans missed the team announcement because he underwent scans on his injury in Sydney.

He hinted at a decision being made about Cherry-Evans’s availability for the May 27 match against NSW at ANZ Stadium once he was assessed again by Maroons medical staff on Tuesday afternoon.

“We are still waiting on results from a scan in Sydney,” Meninga said.

“He’s heading up but we will know more when he arrives here this afternoon and make some judgments later on.”

Cowboys pivot Michael Morgan had been expected to fly into Maroons camp as back-up but Meninga said no contingency plan was in place yet.

“Not at this stage,” he said.

“We will talk to Daly first, look at the scans and then make some decisions.

“I can’t tell you too much at the moment.”

Meninga could confirm that he had celebrated his 10th year at the Maroons helm by signing on for another three seasons.

The deal ends any chance of Meninga succeeding Tim Sheens as national team coach.

Meninga will now be at the helm of the Maroons until the end of the 2018 Origin campaign.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

The Maroons squad features debutant prop Josh McGuire on the bench and another new face – Sydney Roosters forward Dylan Napa – as 18th man.

Meanwhile, Maroons skipper Cameron Smith said he was relieved to playing Origin I after lodging an early guilty plea to a dangerous contact charge from Melbourne’s last round NRL win over South Sydney.

He is now primed to lead Queensland as they look to reclaim the Origin trophy after NSW snapped their eight series streak last year.

“I am glad to be available for game one,” he said.

“It’s good that we prepare well.

“Obviously last year was very disappointing to everyone involved in our campaign.

“It’s hard to let go of that shield and let it go down south.

“We are pretty determined to do anything we can to get away to a good start in Sydney.”

Queensland: Billy Slater, Darius Boyd, Greg Inglis, Justin Hodges, Will Chambers, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Matt Scott, Cameron Smith (capt), Nate Myles, Aidan Guerra, Sam Thaiday, Corey Parker. Interchange: Daly Cherry-Evans, Jacob Lillyman, Matt Gillett, Josh McGuire. 18th man: Dylan Napa.

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