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Queensland have been crying out for a playmaker to partner Cameron Munster into the future and they have found one in Daly Cherry-Evans.

Rediscovered is probably a better word, because the Manly captain's three-year State of Origin exile has proven to be one of self-discovery.

What he showed in the 18-12 win over NSW at Suncorp Stadium was he is now a halfback capable of taking control from start to finish in the Origin cauldron.

The 29-year-old can be the Maroons number seven for a long time to come. Maroons coach Kevin Walters wanted Cherry-Evans to own his position from the get-go.

The Manly skipper did that and then some with his passing, running and kicking game – both short and long – on song.

There was a belief Munster and Cherry-Evans would complement each other but the Maroons could not be sure of the synergy that would exist between the duo until they played together.

What is now clear is the free spirit that is Munster has the perfect foil in the complete package that is now Cherry-Evans.

Match Highlights: Maroons v Blues

The cupboard is far from bare for Queensland when it comes to the future but the Maroons must now get used to playing a NSW side that finds ways to win rather to lose.

If there is any reason why the Maroons lost the series it simply was that they were unable to seal the deal in the opening two games.

The sun has now set on the Billy Slater era at fullback and the Kalyn Ponga decade is about to dawn.

That alone will give Queensland belief that the massive hole left by the 35-year-old legend will not be an insurmountable one to plug.

Ponga, although only 20, has the ability to light up the Origin arena in the same way that Slater has.

For all the criticism of this Maroons side, the 132 games played by the now retired Slater, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith will always be regarded as the foundation stone of the Queensland dynasty.

The Maroons must now build their next successful team around Greg Inglis and the likes of Cherry-Evans, Ponga, Munster, Michael Morgan, Coen Hess, Jai Arrow, Felise Kaufusi, Valentine Holmes, Josh McGuire and Dane Gagai.

Arrow and Josh Papalii both showed in game three that they have the muscle and intent to be starting props for the Maroons for years.

A victory in a dead rubber can have telling repercussions for the future.

The Maroons discovered that in game three of 2014 when victory set up the three years of success that was to follow.

Maroons halfback Daly Cherry-Evans.
Maroons halfback Daly Cherry-Evans. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

The ascension of Cherry-Evans is the biggest takeout from the game three victory for Queensland.

The Maroons also have Morgan, Ben Hunt and Ash Taylor to keep the heat on him in the short term.
Hunt and Morgan will duel for the bench utility role.

With the return of Inglis and Matt Gillett next year and the possible addition of Joe Ofahengaue and Jaydn Su'A to the Origin fold the Queenslanders will believe that they can bounce back with a series win of their own next year, just like they did in 2015.

Acknowledgement of Country

National 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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