Queensland assistant coach Michael Hagan still can’t confirm whether halfback Daly Cherry-Evans will play Origin II.
Queensland assistant coach Michael Hagan says he has been surprised by Daly Cherry-Evans’ speedy recovery but still can’t confirm whether the halfback will play Wednesday night’s crunch State of Origin game two in Sydney.
The Maroons will sweat on Cherry-Evans’ availability until the last minute after a knee complaint ensured the Manly playmaker did not take part in his first team training session until Tuesday afternoon.
Ben Hunt – who has played just 13 games as Broncos halfback – is on standby to make his Origin debut in a match Queensland must win to keep alive their quest of nine straight series wins.
Hunt is still a chance of featuring on the bench even if Cherry-Evans receives a last-gasp green light.
“He has surprised a lot of us in terms of how well he has responded and how much better he is compared to eight or nine days ago,” Hagan said.
“We think he is right to go. We will check him again today.
“But he has to be confident as well.
“That’s the key, that team confidence is right given the significance of the game and how hard it is going to be.”
Hagan said a final verdict would be made on Wednesday afternoon after consultation with coach Mal Meninga, medical staff and Cherry-Evans.
He admitted he felt for Hunt who had trained at halfback with the team for the past week with Cherry-Evans sidelined.
But he compared Hunt’s anxious wait for an Origin nod with Cherry-Evans being thrust into halfback in game one when Cooper Cronk broke his arm in the opening minutes.
“It’s never easy when you are not sure you are guaranteed a spot but that is typical of Origin and NRL teams are doing that every week,” he said.
“You always have an 18th player, just in case, who warms up with the team.
“They are reasonably good at getting their heads around it.
“Daly didn’t know he was going to play 10 minutes into the last game – you deal with it and get on with it.”