Queensland are setting Cherry-Evans up to fail
FORMER NSW halfback Brett Kimmorley fears Daly Cherry-Evans is on a "hiding to nothing" and believes Queensland are "setting him up to fail" in his Origin resurrection.
Recalled to the Maroons after a three-year exile, Cherry-Evans will run onto Suncorp Stadium this Wednesday night in Origin III under enormous pressure to resuscitate his Queensland career.
If anyone can empathise with Cherry-Evans' do-or-die scenario, it is Kimmorley. The former Blues halfback routed Queensland 3-0 in his maiden campaign in 2000, but never tasted success again, losing another five series in his on-and-off 10-game Origin career.
After failing to guide NSW to victory in the opening game of the 2010 Origin series, won 28-24 by Queensland, Kimmorley was sacked - and was never seen in the sky-blue jumper again.
Now, with Cherry-Evans tasked with saving Queensland from their first 3-0 series loss in 18 years, Kimmorley believes the No. 7 faces a no-win situation in his second coming as a Maroon.
"They are setting him up to fail," said Kimmorley, who was NSW halfback when Queensland last suffered a 3-0 series humiliation in 2000.
"Daly hasn't been in the camp the whole series to even make him feel a lot more settled.
"Queensland have had all those legends for a long time like Johnathan Thurston, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk and you would hate to be coming in off the back of them.
"There is a huge amount of pressure on him.
"It's a dead-rubber game and if Daly loses this one, his Origin career will be over."
Cherry-Evans, who plays his seventh Origin game this Wednesday night, has lost both games as Queensland's starting halfback. His second defeat, a 26-18 loss to NSW at the MCG in 2015 deputising for the injured Cooper Cronk, represented his most recent game in a Queensland jumper.
During his decorated career, Kimmorley felt the burden of stepping out of NSW legend Andrew Johns' shadow and says Cherry-Evans faces a similar challenge succeeding champions Thurston and Cronk.
"I know how Daly is feeling," he said. "I was one of the halfbacks who came in for NSW post-Andrew Johns and none of us were ever as good as what 'Joey' was and maybe no-one will ever be as good as Thurston and Cronk.
"He's on a hiding to nothing. If Queensland wins, it will be Billy Slater's great farewell and if they lose, it will be Cherry-Evans' fault.
"I feel for Daly. I think they should have given an Origin debut to Ash Taylor (Titans halfback).
"Being a dead-rubber game, Ash is only young and there would have been no real pressure on him to deliver.
"But the pressure is now back on 'DCE' who hasn't exactly been setting the world on fire in recent weeks for Manly."
Maroons back-rower Felise Kaufusi will run off Cherry-Evans on Queensland's right edge and backed the Manly skipper to breathe life into his Origin career.
"Daly is a great individual player," he said. "I'm sure he will come out and prove that he does belong, and I think he does. He's got his opportunity now and will do the best he can."