Queensland send Origin SOS to DCE

A fortnight after being booed at Queensland’s home ground, Daly Cherry-Evans will be welcomed back by the Maroons with open arms after an injury scare to halfback Cooper Cronk.

Cherry-Evans will be rushed into the State of Origin camp on Saturday after Queensland coach Kevin Walters admitted Cronk was in doubt for Wednesday’s series opener in Sydney due to a rolled ankle.

Cronk lasted just minutes into Friday’s opposed session on the Gold Coast before limping away for treatment.

“He is in doubt,” Walters said.

“(The ankle) swelled up like a pretty big balloon.

“The doctor wasn’t too sure. We will get some scans and go from there.

“Cooper was a bit worried, a bit shocked.”

Cherry-Evans being on standby caps a remarkable turnaround for the Manly playmaker.

He was Queensland’s starting halfback in Origin II in 2015, albeit as an injured Cronk’s replacement.

But by game three he was overlooked completely, failing to even nab a bench utility role.

Cherry-Evans has also not endeared himself to Queensland fans after his infamous Gold Coast Titans contract backflip in 2015.

It ensured he was a booed again when he ran out for Manly in their NRL loss to Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium barely two weeks ago.

However, all will be forgiven when he arrives at the Maroons camp.

Cherry-Evans had been expected to attend training on Friday after being asked along with other fringe players to take part in the opposed session.

But he was a no-show along with fellow Sea Eagle Brenton Lawrence after they were stranded at Sydney airport due to strong winds.

Cherry-Evans was initially asked to attend only the Friday session and had been required back at Manly by Sunday.

However, he looks set to extend his stay after the injury drama.

“I haven’t had time to think about those (contingencies) yet but, yeah, DCE is coming in,” Walters said.

“He’s been stranded on the tarmac in Sydney.

“The winds of NSW were blowing. Bloody Blues got us again.

“But we will give Cooper every chance to keep his spot. He is a good healer.”

However, Cherry-Evans appears set for a bench spot if Cronk is ruled out, with Michael Morgan already in camp.

The Maroons bench utility is an ideal fit in the starting side alongside Queensland playmaker Johnathan Thurston, his Cowboys halves partner.

“We’ve got a bloke called Michael Morgan who slotted in not too badly in five-eighth,” Walters said.

“And with JT at halfback, they play a bit of footy together so that seemed to work out OK.

“But we will wait and see what happens.”

Walters has also toyed with the idea of an all-forwards bench if Cronk is ruled out, with Warriors backrower Jacob Lillyman also entering camp on Friday.

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