Daly Cherry-Evans in action for Queensland in 2014.

Cherry-Evans set to start for Maroons in Origin III

Daly Cherry-Evans is set to return to the State of Origin arena for the first time since 2015 in a revamped Queensland side for the series decider on July 11.

The Manly skipper is expected to get the nod to start Origin III at halfback ahead of St George Illawarra's Ben Hunt, who has been widely criticised for his performance in the loss to NSW at ANZ Stadium in game two.

The Queensland Rugby League have not confirmed the side for game three and will officially announce it on Monday morning.

Cherry-Evans, who has represented his state on six occasions, played a starring role in the Sea Eagles' upset win over Penrith on Saturday.

He has not worn the Queensland jersey since game two of the 2015 series.

Hunt is in a battle with Wests Tigers fullback Moses Mbye and Brisbane five-eighth Anthony Milford for the bench utility spot in the squad, replacing the injured Kalyn Ponga. It is believed the versatile Dragons is the front-runner to get the No.14 jersey.  

Milford played in game one in Melbourne but was given limited game time. Ponga came into the side for game two and played a starring role so his absence is a cruel blow for the Queenslanders as they aim to prevent a 3-0 clean sweep for the first time since 2000.

Queensland halfback Ben Hunt.
Queensland halfback Ben Hunt. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

Ponga left the field in the 14th minute with a hamstring injury in Newcastle's 36-16 loss to Canterbury and did not return.

Milford said he hoped his second-half performance in Brisbane's comeback win over the Raiders on Saturday night, where he had two try assists, played a key role in another and scored the match winner himself, would be enough to earn him another crack with the Maroons.

"It would be an awesome opportunity to get," Milford said.

"I just didn't want to lose," Milford added when asked about his starring role against his old club.

"I took it upon myself, especially in that second half, to do everything I could for the team to make sure we got that win.

"I just went out there and enjoyed myself and told myself I was going to win us the game. Kodi [Nikorima] wasn't real dominant because of an eye injury so I took it upon myself to lead the boys around the park and make sure my kicks were effective."

Queensland hooker Andrew McCullough said Milford showed his true colours in the second half of the win over the Raiders after failing to fire in the first 40 minutes.

"Anthony had a mixed night," he said of his Broncos teammate.

"As a key ball player he needs to back himself. There were a couple of calls he didn’t get right in the first half, but good players bounce back in the second half when the team needs it and he did really well."

 

Origin at Suncorp, there's nothing like it! Game III tickets available here