Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans leaves the field after sustaining an injury in the Sea Eagles' round-seven clash against the Canberra Raiders.  Picture: Joel Carrett/AAP
Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans leaves the field after sustaining an injury in the Sea Eagles' round-seven clash against the Canberra Raiders. Picture: Joel Carrett/AAP

Meninga urges Maroons to pick Cherry-Evans for Origin I

DALY Cherry-Evans must be picked for State of Origin I despite being ruled out for more than a month with injury, former Maroons coach Mal Meninga says.

The NRL legend believes Queensland selectors shouldn't need to see the Manly skipper in action again before the blockbuster, saying he's "earned that respect" to be named automatically.

Cherry-Evans sustained an ankle injury against the Raiders in round seven, with scans showing he will be out for four to six weeks.

Nonetheless, Meninga said he should be selected under the injury cloud, and even talked up his captaincy credentials.

"By naming him after round 11 and then he spends a week in the Maroons camp, that's five weeks rest there. So he should be given every opportunity to play," Meninga wrote for NRL.com on Saturday.

"After what DCE did last year for Queensland in Origin III and then making the Australian side in October, coupled with what he's done for Manly so far this year - four wins from the past five games - he's obviously matured even more from a captaincy point of view."

Nonetheless, he said his pick for the role would be Michael Morgan, while admitting Cameron Munster was also a proven leader with grand final and Australia experience.

Meninga also offered some Queensland selection tips, saying Ben Hunt was currently the state's best No.9. He added he would play Kalyn Ponga at fullback, Morgan at left centre and Cherry-Evans and Munster at No.7 and No.6 respectively.

"Again, for me, DCE is the best goalkicker for Queensland at present. It's another reason for Queensland to give the Manly skipper as much time as possible to get on the field," Meninga said.

News Corp Australia

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