Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans has welcomed the emergence of young talent in the Maroons team but he has no intention of giving up his Origin or Test spot any time soon.
Cowboys speedster Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow is the second member of the 2019 Queensland Under-18s team to graduate to the Maroons team after Bronco winger Xavier Coates, while Reece Walsh was selected for Origin II but suffered an injury at training.
Sydney Roosters halfback Sam Walker is the next teen star tipped to make the step up for the Maroons, but Cherry-Evans said his club form for Manly warranted his selection and he planned to continue playing for Queensland and Australia for as long as possible.
“I don’t see myself retiring from rep footy or any footy any time soon,” said Cherry-Evans.
“Results play a big part in determining the team for Origin and I have been really lucky in that I have come in here in form, so I don’t feel bad playing for Queensland.
“I know sometimes people get picked on previous form, but my club form is something I am proud of. The best thing I can do is go out and play well for my team-mates next week and hopefully put some of this talk to bed."
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With the World Cup still scheduled for the end of the season in England, Cherry-Evans also doesn't want to surrender the Kangaroos No.7 jersey to Penrith and NSW halfback Nathan Cleary or any other playmaker.
Australian coach Mal Meninga has said that Origin form will count more than Test incumbency as the Kangaroos haven't played since their loss to Tonga at the end of the 2019 season.
"I am definitely motivated to continue to play for Australia and Queensland, and if I can play well next Wednesday night, along with the rest of my team, it is going to go a long way to helping with stuff like that later," Cherry-Evans said.
"We are aware of the situation. Mal has already come out and said that Origin form will play a big part so us losing 3-0 isn't going to help many Queenslanders get in the side.
"I can't focus too much on the Aussie side right now but it is only going to help our causes, not just mine but everyone in the Queensland team if they want to play at the next level, by playing well next Wednesday night."
After losing the series in the opening two matches on Queensland soil, the Maroons are determined to stop NSW achieving their first series clean sweep since 2000 by winning Origin III at Newcastle next Wednesday night.
However, Queensland suffered a blow on Thursday when South Sydney forward Jai Arrow was ruled out of the match after breaching NRL biosecurity protocols by inviting an unregistered guest to the Maroons hotel.
Arrow will serve a two-match suspension while in isolation for 14 days and has been fined $35,000 over the incident.
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“Losing footy games is hard enough, let alone losing a series 3-0, so we are very aware of the situation we have put ourselves in,” Cherry-Evans said.
“We’re all extremely proud to play for Queensland and we don’t want to be involved in a whitewash.”
Yet despite losing 26-0 in Origin II at Suncorp Stadium, the Maroons believe that they created enough scoring opportunities to beat the Blues if they had capitalised.
The inclusion of Kalyn Ponga at fullback, Ben Hunt at hooker and Tabuai-Fidow in the centres is expected to improve Queensland’s attack.
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“We do feel that we can create those opportunities again and ice them this next game,” Cherry-Evans said.
“I think Hamiso is going to be fantastic for us. With the current rules, speed is a tough thing to mark up against. It also changes the defensive line.
“If you know that someone out wide is really quick then you have got to have one eye on them, so I definitely think he is going to free up our attack a bit more.
“That’s where Kalyn will help a lot. I think Kalyn is only going to improve our attack and take it to another level and having speed out wide is also something we can be a bit more mindful of and get the ball out there.
"Ben has played hooker at this level before and did it really well so I have got no doubt he is going to be a focal point of our attack next Wednesday.
“We feel like we have got a lot of talent and people who deserve to be here. We believe we have got a good side. The results probably don’t reflect that, but we can rectify that next Wednesday night and show that we have got the right people out there.”