DCE won't beg when it comes to Origin selection
With six Maroons jerseys already in his closet, Daly Cherry-Evans is not going to get on his knees to ask Queensland coach Kevin Walters to pick him next Monday.
It has been three years since he was in the Queensland fold, but the Manly skipper doesn't think his days in the Maroons are done.
"Of course I am," the 29-year-old said when asked if he remained hopeful of a call-up when the Holden State of Origin teams are named.
"I was hopeful last year and I'm hopeful this year. If I don't get picked then I'll be hopeful next year."
With Queensland down on troops and goal-kickers through injury – Josh McGuire, Matt Gillett – or retirement – Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith – the Sea Eagles halfback presents a tempting case.
He started at halfback twice and came off the bench four times in his six games for Queensland (2013-15). He is third in the NRL for goals, behind Gareth Widdop and Smith. He can play hooker, in the halves and defensively can handle the back row as well.
But one thing Cherry-Evans won't do is wave his hand in the air hoping Walters notices him.
"I'm not pleading here right now, absolutely no chance," Cherry-Evans said.
"We've got one more game [Manly v Canberra] before selections are made. If I can go out there and, off the back of the last two weeks, play well again I know it's not going to do my chance any harm.
"The selectors and Kevvie are watching every game so I don't have to stand here and plead why I should be there. If they're liking what they see, they'll pick me next week."
And if they don't select him, even after steering wins over the Broncos and Storm?
"It certainly doesn't dishearten me,'' Cherry-Evans said.
"I'd like to think I'm a little more resilient than that."
What is lifting Cherry-Evans's spirits is having another quality half in Trent Hodkinson stepping into the vacant No.6 spot for the Sea Eagles, which seems somewhat cursed of late. Lachlan Croker suffered an ACL in round eight and now Dylan Walker has a fractured eye socket from round 11.
Hodkinson was released by Cronulla and signed by Manly four days before he came off the bench in the 24-4 win over Storm last Saturday at AAMI Park.
"The timing is perfect in a year where a lot of things haven't fallen into place, the Trent signing will certainly see its value this weekend with Dylan injured," Cherry-Evans said in the lead-up to facing the Raiders at GIO Stadium on Friday.
"It's timely and Trent will slide straight in."
The pair are actually familiar with each other during Hodkinson's previous stint in Manly, where he played the 2010 NRL season at No.7 with Kieran Foran at No.6. Cherry-Evans had come down from the Sunshine Coast Falcons in Intrust Super Cup.
"We trained for a couple of years here together, but we never played a game alongside each other," Cherry-Evans said.
"But we've certainly been in the system together a long time. Our friendship stems back all the way to 2010 but this will be the second time we actually play [NRL game] alongside each other."
Hodkinson only played four games with the Sharks - in the past six weeks, he has had only 33 minutes of on-field action.
"I haven't had too much to see in regards to his playing and training time, but certainly what I have seen is enough to assure me he's up to NRL standard still and playing 80 minutes won't be too troubling for him," Cherry-Evans said.