BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 04: Daly Cherry-Evans and Cameron Munster talks tactics during a Queensland Maroons State of Origin training session at Langlands Park on July 04, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 04: Daly Cherry-Evans and Cameron Munster talks tactics during a Queensland Maroons State of Origin training session at Langlands Park on July 04, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Queensland halves in Kangaroos fast lane

Queensland duo Cameron Munster and Daly Cherry-Evans have rocketed into the frame to be Australia's all-Maroons halves pairing for end-of-year Tests against New Zealand and Tonga.

Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga has released his annual 17-man merit squad based on performances from this year's Origin series with key Maroons Munster and Cherry-Evans catching the eye of national selectors.

While the team is dominated by 11 Blues following their 2-1 series win, the NSW-stronghold has been broken at the scrumbase, with Meninga opting for Munster at five-eighth and Cherry-Evans at halfback.

In total, six Queenslanders made the squad - Munster, Cherry-Evans, prop Josh Papalii and second-rower Felise Kaufusi were named in the starting side, with Ben Hunt and Josh McGuire on the bench.

Munster had an excellent series. AAP Image/Dean Lewins.
Munster had an excellent series. AAP Image/Dean Lewins.

Cherry-Evans is Australia's halfback incumbent and while Munster was superb moving from five-eighth to fullback in Origin III, Meninga said NSW sensation James Tedesco was the standout option for the No.1 jumper.

"Cameron and Daly were outstanding in all three games this year," Meninga said.

"I know Munster played at fullback in Game Three and if Queensland won the other night, Cameron is nearly the man-of-the-match. He was outstanding in Game One as well and he played behind a badly-beaten forward pack in Game Two so he didn't get a lot of chances there.

"James Tedesco is the best player in the world at the moment based on his performances for his club and his state. He is in tremendous form, so he deserves to be there at fullback ahead of Cameron."

Cherry-Evans still has the inside track to represent Australia. Picture by Brett Costello.
Cherry-Evans still has the inside track to represent Australia. Picture by Brett Costello.

While finals form will be a crucial factor, Meninga said Cherry-Evans had the inside running at No.7 for Tests against New Zealand on October 25 at WIN Stadium and Tonga on November 2 in Auckland.

"With Daly, I thought he was very consistent across the whole series and I was really impressed with his leadership qualities," he said.

"People will talk about that field goal and whether he should have attempted it (in the decider at 20-all), but I was really pleased with Daly's form and the way he embraced the captaincy was outstanding.

"If a squad was selected for a Test match today, it might contain other players based on our overall selection policy. But this squad recognises the form of the Origin players in this series and provides an important acknowledgment of where they stand in the Kangaroos reckoning."

Meninga also lauded the form of Maroons prop Josh Papalii, who was named in the starting front-row after producing the best game of his Origin career last Wednesday night.

Papalii played a blinder in the decider. Picture by Adam Head.
Papalii played a blinder in the decider. Picture by Adam Head.

"I'm really played for Josh," he said. "He was very strong in Game One, but in Game Three he was even better.

"He played long minutes and led from the front.

"Josh is a great player and he really is thriving in the engine room now. He was an easy pick for the front row."

Kangaroos Origin merit team

James Tedesco, Blake Ferguson, Jack Wighton, Tom Trbojevic, Josh Addo-Carr, Cameron Munster, Daly Cherry-Evans, David Klemmer, Damien Cook, Josh Papalii, Boyd Cordner, Felise Kaufusi, Jake Trbojevic. Interchange: Ben Hunt, Paul Vaughan, Cameron Murray, Josh McGuire.

News Corp Australia


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