Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans.

From having a chip on his shoulder after being dropped by Mal Meninga to shouldering the hopes and dreams of an entire state as Maroons captain.

The last four years have seen the fall and rise of Daly Cherry-Evans and made him the well-rounded man and footballer he is today.

When the Manly skipper was dropped after Queensland lost game two of the 2015 series he spent the next three years in the State of Origin wilderness.

The Maroons won game three and the series in 2015 and then the following two series. There were doubts that he would ever be back, but Cherry-Evans took it upon himself to prove a point.  

"Getting dropped is never a nice feeling. The day I will never forget was the day Mal [Meninga] called me and told me I wasn't going to be selected for game three of 2015," he said.

"All [the] good and bad I have experienced as a player has put me in this position to be where I am now and that's why I am extremely grateful for the lessons I have learned for nearly 10 years now.

"There was a bit there for me to want to prove myself. I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder so to speak and I'm a player who uses motivation.

"Whether it's to prove someone wrong or prove myself right, I will use whatever motivation to win a game of footy.

Match: Maroons v Blues

Game 1 -

Full Time
Maroons

Home Team

Maroons

Scored 18 points
Blues

Away Team

Blues

Scored 14 points

Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Match broadcasters:

  • Nine Network

"There were moments there where I thought 'how the hell will I ever get back into this side'. The Queensland side is such a prestigious side, it's always filled with great players so I understood how hard it was going to be to get back here."

And "get back" he did in game three last year where he led the Maroons to an 18-12 victory.

Fast forward to 2019 and Cherry-Evans is now Queensland's 15th captain, an honour bestowed on him by Kevin Walters with a personal touch that has left its mark.

"He did it in person, that was a nice touch, to put his hand out and say you are Queensland captain," Cherry-Evans said.

"It's a very humbling moment and it's a proud moment. When you play for Queensland, you play for more than just yourself. You have your surname on the back of the jersey and you are representing this great state and your family.

"It's a really nice feeling, like when your mum and dad say they are proud of you. [Walters] is the coach of Queensland and has put a lot of faith in me. I am thankful for everyone who put me in this position. My job now is to go out do the job for Queensland."

Cherry-Evans has vowed to do that with his own personal stamp on the role while drawing on what he has learned from Maroons greats such as Darren Lockyer, Greg Inglis, Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk.

"I spent time with Cam, Greg and even Locky at the start when I was first around. Even the guys that didn't have the captaincy beside their name are still people I will remember with my experiences in camp," he said.

"Cooper and JT are guys I admired and their leadership skills without even being captains was amazing.

"I will make sure I lean on those times I was able to be in camp with them and use the cool, calm and collected temperament that we know and love of Queensland captains in the past.

"There's a lot that goes into being a leader. The most important thing for me is being myself. You don't get chosen as captain to be someone different, you are chosen to be yourself and carry on the leadership strengths people see in you.

"I like to communicate with my teammates, I like to be nice and clear on what we do. I want us to be nice and relaxed. It's the best job in the world. If you don't think that you are kidding yourself."

Doing the job is one thing. Winning is another. That will only come with a first class performance against NSW at Suncorp Stadium on June 5.

That is why Daly-Evans said he wanted his own stint in the role of Queensland captain to bring "hopefully success" on the back of his teammates playing out of their skins.

"There are parts of my game and leadership at Manly that I hang my hat on and one of those is making sure everyone feels safe and comfortable in the environment they are in," he said.

"You have to be yourself and that's important to me even before I was a captain, feeling as though I could be myself in any environment.

"If I can instil that in the players, I won't have to ask them too hard or too much to put in their best performance. That is a prerequisite of playing for Queensland."

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