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Any thoughts that Queensland has lost more of their Origin powers through the retirement of Greg Inglis are thoughts Maroons halfback Daly Cherry-Evans is keen to encourage.

In fact Cherry-Evans wants NSW to feel a little more confident and more secure that Queensland is weaker and more vulnerable now.

And why wouldn't the Blues be? Almost 200 games of Origin experience just walked out the door, when you add Inglis (32 matches) to recent retirees Billy Slater (31), Cameron Smith (42), Cooper Cronk (22), Johnathan Thurston (37) and Sam Thaiday (29).

"When that Maroons side is picked, if NSW want to sell that team short then I'd be more than happy for them to do that," Cherry-Evans said 24 hours after Inglis called it a day.

"I know I certainly haven't guaranteed my spot there but no matter who is picked, I've never seen a Queensland side not go out there and compete with NSW for 80 minutes. This year will be no different.

"NSW will deservedly be favourites based on last year. Queensland going into another series as underdogs is not a bad thing."

Halfback Cherry-Evans scores in Origin III 2018
Halfback Cherry-Evans scores in Origin III 2018 ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

Cherry-Evans has publicly put his hat into the ring for the vacant Queensland captaincy, alongside players like Michael Morgan and Jake Friend, but with one prerequisite.

"I've got to get picked first – I make no secret about that," he said.

"Right now I want to keep some good form here at Manly. But if put in the position of one, making the side, and two, a leadership role, that's fine with me."

Then again, who would want to captain a side minus 200 games of experience?

"(Senior player departures) were always going to happen but I've got no doubt the people involved in Queensland Rugby league – not just at playing level but at a higher level – have got some things in place to make sure it's a smooth transition," Cherry-Evans said.

"I'd love to be involved in that moving forward."

Australia coach Mal Meninga made Cherry-Evans vice-captain with skipper Boyd Cordner for the two Tests last October against New Zealand and Tonga.

"I don't remember the conversation too well," Cherry-Evans said.

"I got caught up in Mal's first sentence, 'Mate you're going to be vice captain'. The rest is a blur. Just that little privilege I'll remember for a long, long time."

It's been a nostalgic week. Cherry-Evans, like other South Sydney, Maroons and Kangaroos players, will miss the sight of Inglis striding out on a rugby league field.

"Greg Inglis is one of my all-time favourite players. I loved playing alongside of him and I loved watching him play," Cherry-Evans said.

"He was doing things no-one else has done in the game and probably will never do again.

"The way he was able to palm across his body, that's still a highlight which will always stay with me."

Back to reality and its Dragons to face Manly this weekend – both teams after a fourth win in a row when they meet at WIN Stadium on Saturday.

Fellow Queenslanders Ben Hunt and Corey Norman will be waiting in the halves for Cherry-Evans and his band.

Sea Eagles skipper Daly Cherry-Evans.
Sea Eagles skipper Daly Cherry-Evans. ©Shane Myers/NRL Photos

"It doesn't get any easier for us. We've had to face some really tough teams to start the season," he said.

"We've gone into every game as underdogs and we do so again this weekend. We need to keep improving because they certainly have … on the weekend they scored 40 points.

"So our defence definitely needs to be spot on because they were throwing the ball around with confidence. That's a scary thing when you play a side with that unpredictability."

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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