NRL

Cherry-Evans not ready for Origin: Hodges

Cherry-Evans not ready for Origin: Hodges
Queensland legend Justin Hodges says there's no room in the Maroons line-up for Daly Cherry-Evans.

Queensland State of Origin great Justin Hodges says there's no room in the Maroons line-up yet for polarising playmaker Daly Cherry-Evans.

'Not now 'cos there's two superstar players in there. You've got JT (Johnathan Thurston) and obviously Cooper (Cronk) there,' Hodges said on Fox Sports' Queenslanders Only program.

'But when Cooper decides to retire, he's probably the first man that's going to put his hand up for that position.'

With Thurston under an injury cloud for the series opener in Brisbane on May 31, Cherry-Evans' name has been bandied about as a possible halves contender - or at least a spot on the bench - after helping revive Manly's NRL season.

But Hodges and nine-times series-winning coach Mal Meninga prefer Michael Morgan and Anthony Milford as Queensland's super standby men.

A grand final hero for the Sea Eagles and former Dally M halfback of the year, Cherry-Evans has yet to make his mark in six games in the Origin cauldron.

'That's one aspect of his career that he hasn't got right yet, is his State of Origin football,' Hodges said.

'I know he's been there a few times. I played with him.

'He just hasn't rose to that occasion. He hasn't fit into the side, or he might have put too much pressure on himself, too much expectation.

'But I do think he can play Origin football.'

So does Meninga, who blames himself in some way for DCE not kicking on in Origin, admitting the Maroons focused too much on Thurston and Cronk during Cherry-Evans' time with the Maroons from 2013-15.

'I was coach at the time so maybe we should have worked a bit more from a strategy point of view around Daly's strengths,' Meninga said.

'But we decided to stick with the norm that's been successful for a while.

'So in a way I probably blame myself a bit for Daly's two adventures as a starting player.

'But I still think that if he comes on, he's going to do a great job for Queensland.

'And if Cooper's the man leading the team around, that allows Daly to express himself and do what Daly does well, which is run the footy good and just make some really good decisions with the football.'

AAP