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Kevin Walters has given Daly Cherry-Evans a poisoned chalice – now, he’s gotta drink

Tim Gore Columnist

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Popular article! 6,827 reads

    Daly Cherry-Evans will make his comeback to State of Origin next Wednesday night. However, he’s been served a total sh*t sandwich.

    Brought into a badly damaged side that has only pride to play for, anything but a win will see him banished from the event forever, and his previous time in the wilderness justified.

    It’s a telegraphed injustice that should boil the blood of any true Queenslander who is interested in their state’s long-term fortune.

    However, DCE has no choice but to chew and swallow like a man possessed, and you can bet he will put up the fight of his life.

    The last time Cherry-Evans played in a State of Origin match was on Wednesday June 17, 2015, at a packed MCG.

    With Cooper Cronk unavailable, DCE was drafted into the number 7 jersey and – as had happened the year before in Game 2, when he stepped in for Cronk – Queensland lost the match and the series came down to the third game.

    However, Cherry-Evans wasn’t there for the Maroons’ triumph in the decider as he’d begun his time in exile.

    While no one ever said it, it seems clear he was made a scapegoat for the losses the Queensland juggernaut endured in the absence of Cronk.

    I’m an unabashed fan of DCE as a player and as a bloke. Sure, like most people, I don’t like Manly that much – my personal experience is that their fans have a nasty habit of rubbing salt into wounds beyond an acceptable point – however, every dealing I’ve had with Cherry-Evans has always increased the esteem in which I hold him.

    He truly is a good bloke. He speaks well, is polite and he’s genuinely friendly. He has clearly been raised well.

    And he can play very well.

    Yet people despise him.

    Anthony Watmough and Daly Cherry-Evans

    Part of that is surely because he plays for the Sea Eagles.

    Some of that is probably due to the Gold Coast Titans backflip – which the Gold Coast Bulletin so nicely articulated.

    However, unlike the mass of popular support that was shown for the Rabbitohs to re-enter the NRL, few have ever lifted a finger to help the Giants-Seagulls-Chargers-Titans. How people can suddenly be outraged when DCE, within the rules, chose to stay for what is still the richest deal in rugby league history is – at best – opportunistic.

    Cherry-Evans’ problem is that he is totally his own man. He is completely comfortable in his own skin and just as confident that his footballing ability is at least the equal of any other player. Those are wonderful qualities to have as a club’s chief playmaker and captain – essential, even.

    However, if you are the up-and-coming star at a successful club, the established star players might not like it much. Anthony Watmough certainly didn’t.

    For all of Watmough’s refreshing candour on the matter though, he still reveals that he was expecting his grand-final-winning wunderkind halfback to be happy playing for $50,000 a season. There was nothing unreasonable in DCE’s actions to demand more money, but there was plenty of problems with expecting him to play for peanuts.

    When you add Cherry-Evans’ great qualities to the greatest representative side of all time it can also go bad. If you’re a star in that team, you’d probably expect the likes of Cherry-Evans to doff his cap and tug his forelock in deference to his superiors.

    And maybe he should have. Who knows? Maybe he did. We don’t know why Cherry-Evans was put on the outer. All we know is that he was.

    On the surface of it, you can say that he failed to step into the void that the great organiser Cronk left when he got injured in the early stages of Origin 1 2014 – which also saw him out for the second game – and that Queensland lost both games as a result. You can then go on to say that this thesis was proved when the same scenario happened in Game 2, 2015.

    However, let’s not forget that Cherry-Evans wasn’t leading around a team of rookies in those games. His teammates included Billy Slater, Johnathan Thurston, Cam Smith, Greg Inglis, Corey Parker, Sam Thaiday, Darius Boyd and Justin Hodges.

    Cam

    All of those players also lost those games and, in reality, had more responsibility due to their seniority to get the team over the line. However, somehow the blame ended up with the rookie.

    And so many people have believed it and accepted it as gospel. What a joke.

    Ben Hunt had a poor game in Origin 2 and has now been benched. However, Kevin Walters is adamantly refusing to scapegoat him in a show of support the type of which DCE himself could have benefited from in 2015.

    “To blame him for what happened in Game 2 is absolutely ridiculous,” Walters said this week. “That’s never been our view, that’s never been our stance. We had 16 other players out there.”

    However, no one ever actually ever came out and said that DCE was the reason that the Maroons lost those two matches in 2014 and the one in 2015. No one openly blamed DCE at all. Yet somehow everyone knew that was the case. He was the change that was made. We all heard “he’s disruptive”, “he’s a dickhead”, “no one likes him”.

    As the Sydney Morning Herald reported, Cherry-Evans himself is at a loss on the matter.

    “It really is a tough one. There were no quotes or comments … it was just rumours. Nobody actually came up and told me … except for Anthony Watmough,” he said.

    So we don’t really know if those rumours are true, yet we’ve just accepted them as fact.

    Walters has come out and said those rumours are false – sort of: “I don’t have a problem in any way with him and neither do our players.”

    Of course, the only players from DCE’s last game in 2015 that remain in the side are Billy Slater, Will Chambers and Josh McGuire. It could well be that the people who had a problem with Cherry-Evans are now gone and all of a sudden his skill set is very much in demand by Walters.

    “We had to have a look at DCE who’s been in great touch for Manly and just that experience around the halves is something that we haven’t had in this series and I think that’s an area that we’ve been not let down in but an area we can better at,” Walter said at the team announcement.

    “DCE can fill those shoes, he’s captain of Manly, he’s played in a premiership-winning team which neither Ben [Hunt] or Cameron [Munster] have done…

    “He’s played Origin football, he’s played Test football, and in games 1 and 2 we lacked a bit of leadership in those positions and he provides that.”

    Kevin Walters

    However, look at the key warning words there: “We had to have a look at DCE.”

    There is a suggestion that maybe this game is that ‘look’ and if he doesn’t win, well, that’s it.

    And that just isn’t fair. Cherry-Evans is by far the best-credentialled of the available halfbacks for Queensland. At 29 he’s got the most games under his belt, the most finals, the most grand finals, and the most premierships. The contenders – Ben Hunt and Ash Taylor – combined don’t match his numbers.

    But Walters is having “a look”. And he’s doing it with Cherry-Evans leading the poorest Queensland side I can remember seeing.

    His starting props are a second rower and lock forward. His back row of Felise Kaufusi and Gavin Cooper is the weakest I’ve ever seen in Maroon. Will Chambers’ tackling isn’t up to scratch. Andrew McCullough is an 80-minute player but Ben Hunt is the utility. Can Hunt play centre, wing or fullback?

    However, Cherry-Evans’ position is clear, despite all of this: win or be dropped – and for good this time.

    As Queensland legend Billy Moore told Fairfax Media: “He’s had a bit of time in purgatory, DCE. He gets the chance to put up or shut up.”

    However, Queensland should note their own history when it comes to being quick to change playmakers. One of the large factors in their dynasty was sticking with their playmaker combinations, while NSW had constant changes in the halves.

    NSW Queensland
    Year Five-eighth Halfback Total combinations Five-eighth Halfback Total combinations
    2005 Trent Barrett 1 / Braith Anasta 2 Brett Kimmorley / Andrew Johns 2 2 Darren Lockyer Johnathan Thurston 1
    2006 Anasta 2 / Mark Gasnier 1 Brett Finch 2 / Craig Gower 1 2 Lockyer Thurston 1
    2007 Anasta 2 / Greg Bird 1 Jarrod Mullen 1 / Kimmorley 2 3 Lockyer Thurston 1
    2008 Bird 2 / Anasta 1 Peter Wallace 2 / Mitchell Pearce 1 2 Ben Hunt 1 / Thurston 2 Thurston 1 / Scott Prince 2 2
    2009 Terry Campese 1 / Barrett 2 Wallace 2 / Kimmorley 1 3 Lockyer Thurston 1
    2010 Jamie Lyon 1 / Barrett 2 Kimmorley 1 / Pearce 2 2 Lockyer Thurston 1
    2011 Jamie Soward Pearce 1 Lockyer Thurston 1
    2012 Todd Carney Pearce 1 Thurston Cooper Cronk 1
    2013 James Maloney Pearce 1 Thurston Cronk 1
    2014 Josh Reynolds Trent Hodkinson 1 Thurston Cronk / DCE / Cronk 2
    2015 Pearce Hodkinson 1 Thurston Cronk / DCE / Cronk 2
    2016 Maloney 2 / Matt Moylan 1 Reynolds 2 / Maloney 1 2 Thurston Cronk 1
    2017 Maloney Pearce 1 Anothony Milford / Thurston / Cameron Munster Cronk 3
    2018 Maloney Nathan Cleary 1 Munster Hunt 2 / DCE 2
    Total 12 11 23 (19) 5 5 20 (9)

    NSW had 12 different five-eighths and 11 different halfbacks, while Queensland had just five of each, With Karmichael Hunt and Scott Prince doing very brief cameos due to injuries to other players.

    Whatever happens, Walters should – and needs to – stick with Daly Cherry-Evans into the 2019 series, regardless of the result in Origin 3. If he doesn’t, he’ll risk not only making the same mistakes the NSW selectors did for 13 years, but he’ll also be forsaking Queensland’s best halfback option.

    I fear Walters may make that mistake.

    I fear that Kevin Walters has served Daly Cherry-Evans a shit sandwich and now he’s got to chew like hell and swallow hard or his representative career – such as it has been – will be over for good.

    And it just isn’t fair.

    Tim Gore
    Tim Gore

    Tim has been an NRL statistician for ABC Radio Grandstand since 1999, primarily as part of their Canberra coverage. Tim has loved rugby league since Sterlo was a kid with lots of hair but was cursed with having no personal sporting ability whatsoever. He couldn't take a hit in footy, was a third division soccer player making up numbers, plays off 41 in golf and is possibly the world's worst cricketer ever. He has always been good at arguing the point though and he has a great memory of what happened. Follow Tim on Twitter.

    Getting hassled by a parent or partner about spending too much time playing video games? Now, you can tell them the story of how some ordinary gamers scored $225k for just seven weeks of work.

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    The Crowd Says (128)

    • July 5th 2018 @ 8:28am
      Greg said | July 5th 2018 @ 8:28am | ! Report

      Lots of players believe they are underpaid, but at the end of the day that’s what they signed a contract for. They’re free to ask for more money or wait until their contract expires and get an upgraded deal but under no circumstances should they refuse to attend training and hold their club to ransom like DCE reportedly did. Jimmy Maloney whinged all last season that he was underpaid and was asking for more but he still turned up to train.

      • Columnist

        July 5th 2018 @ 8:47am
        Tim Gore said | July 5th 2018 @ 8:47am | ! Report

        So you’re completely fine that the incumbent premiership halfback was on $50,000 then? A junior wage. Minimum wage.
        That’s fair? “You did the deal now suck it up princess. And if you don’t we’re all going to say you’re the problem”?
        That’s a pathetic and unrealistic position in my view.
        The reverse is the the club was knowingly paying massive unders and was being completely unreasonable in enforcing it.
        In my view reason won out and DCE had the guts to back his righteous position.
        And where is Jimmy Maloney this year? Oh, not at the Sharks! Didn’t get paid more: left. Great result for the Sharks there!
        Manly needed DCE far more than watmough. That’s just a basic business decision. DCE could have bought out his contract for $150,000 too. Peanuts really. Watmough bought his out and made his issues very very public throughout the entirety of his dissatisfaction. The only reason we know about DCEs protest was because Watmough told us.
        But you just keep blaming DCE on the basis of Watmough’s righteous evidence. I tell you which one would be st my bbq.

        • Roar Rookie

          July 5th 2018 @ 9:33am
          Don said | July 5th 2018 @ 9:33am | ! Report

          How do you figure that DCE could have bought out his contract for $150k?
          To do that you also need a willing seller at that price, and Manly weren’t selling.

          Players don’t have the option of buying out their own contracts. If they did then almost every first year “boom” kid on minimum wage would be in the market.
          The clubs can also hold contracted players in breach should they not turn up for training because they feel the right to renegotiate their deal.
          And whilst they are in breach of contract they can’t sign for another club either.

          Watmough leaving was a completely different scenario and shouldn’t be used as any comparison.

          I’m sure the general feeling in the QLD side at the time was that DCE was a bit of a tool and simply a bad fit with the group that had been in place for a while.
          It happens. And until now leaving out DCE has done QLD no harm at all.

          If we are being completely honest, DCE has played his best footy with a Foran or Blake Green type. Pairing him with JT who also plays both sides doesn’t work.

          • Columnist

            July 5th 2018 @ 10:36am
            Tim Gore said | July 5th 2018 @ 10:36am | ! Report

            $50,000 a year x3.
            Full value of his remaining contract, If he wants to break his contract.
            That’s the maximum penalty for breaking a contract.
            The club doesn’t own the player. They aren’t a seller.

            • Roar Rookie

              July 5th 2018 @ 2:18pm
              Don said | July 5th 2018 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

              Tim, there’s no provision for a player to “buy out “ their contract under the terms of the NRL players contracts.

              And that’s not the maximum penalty.
              The club has ZERO obligation to release a player simply because he decides to pay out the remaining value of his deal.

              There’d be an interesting legal argument if a kid tried to buy out his contract.
              The likely ruling would be that it whilst they don’t have to play for the club anymore, they also wouldn’t be allowed to play for another club in the same comp for a period either.

              There’s not even a provision in the dispute resolution process for the matter.

              • July 5th 2018 @ 6:33pm
                damo said | July 5th 2018 @ 6:33pm | ! Report

                I’d be interested to see that tested in court: player willing to pay the club the full value of what they would owe him in order to leave?
                After all, the club isn’t exactly losing money to not pay him & break the contract.
                Of course they could argue about market forces, available comparable players etc etc but if you are paying a bloke minimum wage it would be a bold argument to say he’s irreplaceable or worth so much more to the club (merchandise, marketing etc)

                I don’t know the laws on this but I have the feeling there may be a precedent in the SBW- Bulldogs situation.

              • Roar Rookie

                July 6th 2018 @ 11:10am
                Don said | July 6th 2018 @ 11:10am | ! Report

                A more likely precedent is the Gorden Tallis and StGeorge example.
                He wanted to get out of a club contract to play Superleague for the Broncos and his remaining contract was being paid out.
                He had to sit out the season.

                He didn’t have to play at the Dragons but whilst he was still contracted to St George and they were unwilling to release him, he couldn’t play elsewhere.

                The Sonny-Bill scenario was him exiting to play overseas in another code so not going to a competitor.

            • Roar Pro

              July 5th 2018 @ 11:28pm
              Kurt S said | July 5th 2018 @ 11:28pm | ! Report

              Tim, I can see your point and personally being in business where contracts are the norm, I understand both sides of the equation. People who aren’t privy to these sort of interactions might find the whole thing unseemly.

              I will try to walk a fine line and put both sides into perspective. I may well fall from the line but it is worth the shot.

              1. A young kid with stars in his eyes get a manager and said manager pulls off the opportunity for a 3 *50k deal. Where were the reservations that he was going to give the big leagues a run and rip and tear them a premiership?

              Poor forethought from him, his mentors and his manager? Was Manly willing to offer a one year deal but the manager pushed for three?

              2. Kid goes well and is the talk of the town. Helps bring home the crown and all is Rosey.. until someone realises he is still on 50k.

              Now the next reaction is probably the most important in this whole scenario.

              I don’t know a business management team that sees a golden goose like a premiership winning, young pivot that they can lock up for life and then decide they want to screw that player over. They will find a way to improve the playing position for the term of the contact. And remember, it was a contract DCE was happy to sign 12 months prior.

              I’ve personally been involved in more amendments to contracts, in my working history, unakin to this that I have forgotten most of them. Generally in business, everyone is happy to share the fortune.. it is a minority who try to really screw what they have.

              I’m out on a limb here and saying the manager, the player or mentor has possibly , in some unintentional way, maybe, (again) possibly misinterpreted something and tensions frayed.

              But to ever threaten to not train, if that is the case is not acceptable and becomes a liability no organisation needs.

              What mouth and his group.. well if they took “unders” he took a less than stellar choice in my opinion.. to take less than going rate with just a promise of future riches… What mouth.. I got a bridge for sale.. freshly painted and all.

              If you are going to take unders, surely your manager who you probably pay over 10% must set up a contract confirming future ‘overs’ playments.?

              It is all a sad story.. I think on this information, alone the player managers need to be auditored by independent officials representing the NRL..

              Something stinks here.

              • Roar Pro

                July 5th 2018 @ 11:33pm
                Kurt S said | July 5th 2018 @ 11:33pm | ! Report

                What mouth was meant to be Whatmough. Hard to edit on a phone

              • July 6th 2018 @ 7:28am
                Roger said | July 6th 2018 @ 7:28am | ! Report

                “What mouth” seems to work pretty well though Kurt 🙂

        • July 5th 2018 @ 9:40am
          jameswm said | July 5th 2018 @ 9:40am | ! Report

          If DCE refused to turn up to training till they upgraded his contract, it’s poor form.

          If DCE went to management and told them his contract was unfair and he deserved more, then that’s fair enough.

          • Columnist

            July 5th 2018 @ 10:51am
            Tim Gore said | July 5th 2018 @ 10:51am | ! Report

            Not if you’re paying minimum wage for a star half back it isn’t poor form
            Poor form is a club expecting a star player to be on minimum wage and a 10th of what other stars are earning.
            I’ve got no problem with him using the threat of not coming to training – and that’s all it was a threat, it was never enacted – to leverage a fair outcome. That’s just business.
            Question James: do you think DCE was being treated fairly?

          • July 6th 2018 @ 9:47pm
            Bearfax said | July 6th 2018 @ 9:47pm | ! Report

            Well said Tim. I’m totally with you on this one. I just don’t get it. So many on this forum have an obvious dislike for DCE. And for doing what. Demanding a better pay for being a premiership winning half back. So no one else ever does that, is that what you are all saying. And the point was he didn’t stop turning up for training. He just said he would do it if negotiations didn’t start. Gee that makes him such an evil character to so many out there. Probably reading too much negative propaganda from the media and being sheep like and believing it all. My goodness there is some distorted thinking out there. And as for no longer playing as well as when Foran played, absolute rubbish. He is a far more complete player now than then. He was easily the best half last year and if you look at the stats it confirms it. Get off his back. He would never come back at you with such negative commentary.

        • July 5th 2018 @ 10:13am
          Greg said | July 5th 2018 @ 10:13am | ! Report

          That’s where his manager should have earned his 7% or whatever he gets. His manager should have gone to Manly and said “look, you’ve got a great young half who’s drastically underpaid, either you upgrade him now or your potential halfback for the next 10 years is no chance of re-signing when his contract expires”. The issue was with Manly management, by refusing to train he then impacts the 16 other players in the team who are busting a gut to try and win games, there’s no excuse for it, even if it was suggested by his manager. Maloney got his desired outcome – a payrise (albeit with a different team) – without having to give an up yours to his team mates. And for the record, I wouldn’t have Watmough to my BBQ either.

          • Roar Guru

            July 5th 2018 @ 10:25am
            Adam said | July 5th 2018 @ 10:25am | ! Report

            You are all assuming that what Watmough says is the complete and honest truth…..

            • July 5th 2018 @ 11:28am
              Noel said | July 5th 2018 @ 11:28am | ! Report

              That’s right. And there was a lot in that interview that turned out to be demonstrably untrue.

          • July 5th 2018 @ 10:37am
            Gray-Hand said | July 5th 2018 @ 10:37am | ! Report

            Is there any evidence that he didn’t turn up to training?

            If they crumbled before he even got the chance to follow through with the threat (which may not ever have even been made), then that’s a pretty good indication that his demands were reasonable.

            • Columnist

              July 5th 2018 @ 11:00am
              Tim Gore said | July 5th 2018 @ 11:00am | ! Report

              It was a threat. Not enacted.
              Look at Watmoughs patronising comment: “Your time will come…”
              Well it did, because he stood up for himself and forced the issue.
              Seems to me that a fair few of the other 16 were quite happy with the status quo at the expense of others in the 16.
              Again: paying $50,000 for the incumbent premiership winning halfback is ludicrous and unreasonable. It’s exploitative. Having a go at a bloke for fighting against that exploitation says far more about the people having a go than the kid standing up for his rights.

              • Roar Pro

                July 5th 2018 @ 11:53pm
                Kurt S said | July 5th 2018 @ 11:53pm | ! Report

                Which the halfback was happy to sign on for. Not for one year.. but three.. where was the forethought? If he failed he would have been happy to leech off the club.. he wouldn’t have done the noble thing and down graded his contract would he, Tim?

        • July 5th 2018 @ 1:28pm
          no one in particular said | July 5th 2018 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

          Player signs mutli-year contract.

          Player plays first year without drama

          Player feels he is underpaid int eh second year, despite agreeing to the contracts terms. Acts like a petulant child.

          Club wants to enforce contract

          Somehow, the club is in the wrong and the player is in the right

          Gore logic personified

          • July 5th 2018 @ 3:53pm
            Greg said | July 5th 2018 @ 3:53pm | ! Report

            Exactly. Especially with a salary cap, clubs don’t operate half a million under the cap just in case someone gets upset and wants a payrise. Imagine the outrage if the reverse happened – DCE starts playing like a reserve grader for the next two years so the club demands him to take a paycut from his $1M salary. It shouldn’t and wouldn’t happen.

          • July 5th 2018 @ 8:08pm
            jameswm said | July 5th 2018 @ 8:08pm | ! Report

            You really think that’s how it works in sport? Contracts are never upgraded?

            Nice try b

    • Roar Pro

      July 5th 2018 @ 8:37am
      Ghost Crayfish said | July 5th 2018 @ 8:37am | ! Report

      Only read the first couple of sentences…hope the article picked up, because those were total garbage. Hunt deserved his chance on form, clearly didn’t take it, so a change has been made. DCE is back in form for Manly, and now playing the club role QLD wants from its halfback (ie. to be the dominant organiser and playmaker) – the timing is right for him and he gets the chance he’s been waiting for. Pretty simple really. If he plays well, the spot could be his for the long-term. If he doesn’t, he’s in the same position as he was last week. Why can’t we just wish him well without sensationalising the stakes, and making him out to be some sort of victim? It’s ridiculous.

      • Columnist

        July 5th 2018 @ 8:49am
        Tim Gore said | July 5th 2018 @ 8:49am | ! Report

        Great well thought out position, based on examination of all the facts. Well, I’m assuming that’s the case as I didn’t read past the first sentence…

        • Roar Pro

          July 5th 2018 @ 9:26am
          Ghost Crayfish said | July 5th 2018 @ 9:26am | ! Report

          Fair point, so I’ve since read the full article and feel vindicated by my first instict. What a slightly disturbing and obsessive DCE love fest! I’ve got nothing against the guy at all, but do all these violins really need playing for him? QLD gave him a good run, and he didn’t quite fit the bill, so they moved on. What’s the big deal? Happens in all sports, all the time. He’s never been blamed or anything… they just picked Cronk at half ahead of him (pretty understandable!) and went to Morgan on the bench (again, pretty understandable!) Now DCE is older, his game has evolved, and we need a halfback. So he gets another well-deserved crack. All the other speculation about whether he is indeed a dickhead, or a tragic victim of some sort of bizarre conspiracy, is embarrassing. You should be blaming your fellow media experts for anything he’s had to go through – you’re the ones fueling all the talk about him.

          • Columnist

            July 5th 2018 @ 9:41am
            Tim Gore said | July 5th 2018 @ 9:41am | ! Report

            I have always defended DCE and I don’t like Manly.
            My point is that he’s been effectively given an HQ with a busted head gasket and told to go win Bathurst or he won’t get a drive next year.
            It is not fair.

            • Roar Pro

              July 5th 2018 @ 9:52am
              Ghost Crayfish said | July 5th 2018 @ 9:52am | ! Report

              You’re right. Elite professional sport shouldn’t be challenging. Maybe we should recall Smith so he has a better shot at winning.

              But more seriously, I (obviously) disagree with your point. Win or lose, if he impresses people through the week at training and does the job they’ve asked of him on Wednesday, he’ll have boosted his stocks for next year. The ball is in his court – how you expect us to feel sorry for a bloke who has just been given the shot he wanted is beyond me. Your assumption that he’ll be banished forevermore if QLD doesn’t win is just typical media hyperbole.

            • Roar Guru

              July 5th 2018 @ 9:53am
              Matt H said | July 5th 2018 @ 9:53am | ! Report

              But who has told him he won’t get to drive next year? Walters? A Man in Black? Deep Throat?

              It’s just an assumption Tim and you have based a whole article on it.

              • Columnist

                July 5th 2018 @ 11:09am
                Tim Gore said | July 5th 2018 @ 11:09am | ! Report

                I’m just following the existing methodology, that I also clearly outline.
                I’d call it a logical progression based on previous experience. Call it speculation if you want, but Watch it happen Matt H.
                Ive watched what has happened to him – and how – in the past. I’m predicting what they’ll do next when Queensland almost inevitably lose.
                I’m calling it early in an effort to stop him getting screwed – again.

              • Roar Pro

                July 6th 2018 @ 12:01am
                Kurt S said | July 6th 2018 @ 12:01am | ! Report

                Almost inevitably lose? Come.on Tim.. the comp has been closer than that.. a few converted tries, a bee’s nether closer for a Gaigai true that was called a try by the infield ref and we have a whole different agenda.

                Personally as a qlder I am happy for NSW’s well deserved win.. it sets up next year. I have a feeling, unfortunately, from Walters continued comments that he is a figurehead more than a leader in the Queensland Hierarchy.. and that is sad.

            • Roar Guru

              July 5th 2018 @ 10:58am
              Renegade said | July 5th 2018 @ 10:58am | ! Report

              How is it not fair?
              Pretty much every player in the team can claim that based on the lack of immortals in the team that were there for the past decade.

              • Columnist

                July 5th 2018 @ 11:12am
                Tim Gore said | July 5th 2018 @ 11:12am | ! Report

                Because DCE will be one of those dropped, and he won’t get another go.

              • Roar Pro

                July 5th 2018 @ 11:45am
                Ghost Crayfish said | July 5th 2018 @ 11:45am | ! Report

                Is he your secret illegitimate son, Tim?

                DCE has been treated perfectly reasonably by QLD selectors in the past, and now. As has been pointed out by other commenters, DCE got the go both times Cronk was out in the past. He wasn’t made the scapegoat for those losses at all – except perhaps by media commentators. He just lost his place when Cronk returned. Perfectly reasonable. He then lost his place on the bench to Michael Morgan once he emerged – and surely you’re not going to try and argue that Morgan wasn’t a better bench option! So really…what is your gripe exactly?

                This year is really the first time QLD’s no. 7 has actually been available in DCE’s whole career. On form, Hunt clearly deserved first crack, didn’t make it his own, and has made way for DCE. All perfectly fine. Nothing to see here. If you really need to write about poor little footy players, why aren’t you bemoaning the lack of ‘fairness’ for Hunt? Instead, you’re fixated on your own presumptions that DCE is going to treated harshly in the future… If he is so undisputably awesome and victimised, why don’t you give him any chance of lifting a side that lost by 4 points last game to a victory?

              • Columnist

                July 5th 2018 @ 12:49pm
                Tim Gore said | July 5th 2018 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

                I’d have him GC. I wouldn’t have many of them, but Daly is always welcome at my place. he is a lovely young man.
                and he was made the scapegoat. he was the one dropped.

              • Roar Pro

                July 5th 2018 @ 1:19pm
                Ghost Crayfish said | July 5th 2018 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

                Dropped for the return of the better player he was filling in for? Oh the humanity!

                The only game in that whole “exile” he could feel hard done by was Game 3 last year, when he could’ve conceivably been five-eighth. But in this case, Walters’ selection of Munster made perfect sense (retaining club combination) and was totally vindicated.

              • Roar Pro

                July 5th 2018 @ 1:41pm
                Ghost Crayfish said | July 5th 2018 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

                And I know I’m just buying into your whole “write polarising nonsense, attract comments” strategy here, but what the hell? My only other option is doing work.

                So, I just wanted to add that the first game of DCE’s inhumane exile saw QLD struggle to bounce back from their last game loss with an unconvincing 52-6 victory, with some hack called Cronk battling away in DCE’s number 7 jersey, struggling to impose himself on the game. You’re right, DCE should never have been replaced. What were we thinking?!

              • Columnist

                July 5th 2018 @ 2:39pm
                Tim Gore said | July 5th 2018 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

                So it all fell apart because DCE was there? He ruined the whole thing. He overuled Slater, Smith and Thurston , put them off their games so they lost those three games? All their experience and skill and they were losers without Cronk? And when he came back usual transmission was resumed. Right?

                “Write polarising nonsensense”
                What a delightful thing to say! You’re a top bloke. We should meet for a beer.

              • Roar Pro

                July 5th 2018 @ 3:13pm
                Ghost Crayfish said | July 5th 2018 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

                Mate, I didn’t blame him for the game 2 loss…I’m not against DCE at all, I’m just saying he’s not a victim. It was the right decision to drop him once Cronk was fit again, and the proof is in the pudding to the emphatic tune of 52-6!

                Sorry, but I don’t get what the actual grievance you have is. That’s why I said you’re being deliberately polarising. Perhaps I should have said provocative (and not said nonsense!) – sorry if that went a bit far.

                I just don’t get what you’re suggesting should have happened, or what QLD should have done differently? Do you think DCE should have retained his place ahead of Cronk?

      • July 5th 2018 @ 11:56am
        jimmmy said | July 5th 2018 @ 11:56am | ! Report

        That’s way too reasonable a point Ghost . Sensationalise it a bit . Tim doesn’t respond well to reason.

        • Columnist

          July 5th 2018 @ 12:50pm
          Tim Gore said | July 5th 2018 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

          James… really?
          watch it happen. just watch it happen.

    • July 5th 2018 @ 9:14am
      Marty said | July 5th 2018 @ 9:14am | ! Report

      Backed Tim.

      I am an unabashed Manly fan, but the way that I read it is that the mainstream media (notably the News Ltd press) have made more out of DCE’s apparent ‘issues’ because they simply see him as more polished than the average footballer. What bulls**t.

      1. the ‘backflip’… didn’t hurt Greg Inglis’ reputation. Didn’t hurt Tim Motzen’s reputation. Certainly didn’t affect James Tedesco… what about the King and Gene Miles to Manly? The hatred from the backflip was 100% driven by the mainstream media in QLD.

      2. The non-deliverance on the Origin stage… you nailed it, how can it be a replacement halfbacks fault that QLD lost some games? He was a square, DCE shaped player being shoved into a very round Cronk shaped hole and it didn’t work. Surprised? No… NSW did it for years trying to play John’s style football with very different styled halfbacks.

      3. Watmough… everyone knows hes not the sharpest tool in the shed, but when you win a comp on min wage, you deserve to seek an upgrade. Just because the core of that champion team bought into Haslers’ contract swindle doesn’t mean DCE had to suffer through another couple of years on minimum wage. He deserved his upgrade – and anyone in any career would be seeking similar financial reimbursement. Watmough is out of line.

      4. His ‘persona’… again, this hatred of DCE is purely media driven. Once someone writes about it in the paper, or says something about it on the magazine shows on Fox Sports, all of a sudden the lowest common denominator in the rugby league consuming public have made up their mind. Its all a part of the soap opera that is rugby league, and sure we all need a villain – but because he’s seemingly intelligent and articulate, he must be fake.

      The world’s made up their mind on DCE. Some of us love him, most hate him, whatever. But one thing he definitely is is an elite footballer, especially when his confidence is sky high. And being selected for QLD after the years of rumour and innuendo about his rep career being over? Well I reckon we’re about to see DCE at his absolute best. I hope he plays a 9/10 game on Wednesday, but still loses by 2 points. Then maybe the media can blame their goal kicker or something. Go NSW!

      • Columnist

        July 5th 2018 @ 12:50pm
        Tim Gore said | July 5th 2018 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

        noice.

      • Roar Rookie

        July 5th 2018 @ 12:56pm
        Joe said | July 5th 2018 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

        Great comments Marty. Point 2 especially where not only was he expected to be a Cronk when he clearly wasn’t. Hunt is being given far more leeway when his poor game had far more impact than what DCE had in 2014 with the likes of Slater, JT and Smith around him.

      • Roar Pro

        July 5th 2018 @ 1:13pm
        Ghost Crayfish said | July 5th 2018 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

        All great, except DCE is likely to be the goal kicker!

      • July 5th 2018 @ 1:49pm
        Tom G said | July 5th 2018 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

        Well said.. 100% on the money in all points

      • July 5th 2018 @ 3:23pm
        mushi said | July 5th 2018 @ 3:23pm | ! Report

        “what about the King and Gene Miles to Manly?”

        #imgonnastopyourightthere

        Lewis and Miles didn’t backflip.

        Lewis’ QRL contract had a right to match. According to the McGregor biographical series Manly, in an attempt to make sure certain members of the current playing group didn’t get upset at him getting paid more, structured his contract to be split between a playing contract and marketing one.

        Under the right to match the QRL only had to match the playing contract. Lewis was apparently livid then the Miles part fell through as it was seemingly a package deal from both sides.

    • July 5th 2018 @ 9:26am
      Albo said | July 5th 2018 @ 9:26am | ! Report

      Funny move by the QLD selectors ? Seems they have now totally panicked to the point of even trying DCE again despite all the past slandering and the anecdotal claims of ” never to be selected for QLD again “. Its not as if his form for Manly has been anything to write home about at Manly this year ? Its just that the halfback stocks in QLD currently seem to be at an all time low with no Cronk, JT, or Morgan and the failure of Hunt to shine in the past two. So it is DCE now on a hiding to nothing, with the QLD selectors keeping their butts covered irrespective of the result. If QLD grab a win and avoid the whitewash, they will be geniuses for bringing in DCE to revive the mighty Queenslander spirit, and if they lose in a clean sweep , well they were always right to think DCE was not the answer previously, and really he should never be picked for QLD again !

      • Columnist

        July 5th 2018 @ 9:42am
        Tim Gore said | July 5th 2018 @ 9:42am | ! Report

        Spot on.

        • Roar Guru

          July 5th 2018 @ 1:18pm
          Nat said | July 5th 2018 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

          Spot on? You’re agreeing with a comment citing anecdotal media speculation. Albo, DCE is 3rd if not 4th #7 option in Qld stocks and he would walk into NSW team. Who is NSW 4th best?

          • July 5th 2018 @ 3:26pm
            Albo said | July 5th 2018 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

            I would say NSW 4th best #7 would be ………Adam Reynolds or Luke Keary ( after Moylan, Sterlo & Brandy ). All likely to be selected well before DCE based on recent form.

            • Roar Guru

              July 5th 2018 @ 3:46pm
              Nat said | July 5th 2018 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

              haha, yep, probably agree.

        • Roar Guru

          July 5th 2018 @ 1:21pm
          Nat said | July 5th 2018 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

          Spot on? You’re agreeing with a comment citing anecdotal media speculation. The same commentators who wished for Corey Norman to be a Blue and never been in the convrsation. DCE is 3rd if not 4th #7 option in Qld stocks and he would walk into NSW team. Before you start claiming Qld stocks are low, who is NSW 4th best?

          • July 5th 2018 @ 1:40pm
            no one in particular said | July 5th 2018 @ 1:40pm | ! Report

            He’d walk into the NSW team? At what position?

            Are you putting him ahead of Maloney and Cleary?

            And if DCE is the #4 Qld option then who are the 3 ahead of him and why are they not playing next Wednesday?

      • July 5th 2018 @ 12:08pm
        jimmmy said | July 5th 2018 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

        Albo, you are better than that. It has nothing to do with panicking. It is obvious to me and to the QLD selectors as well ,that Hunt is not the answer as a starting half for QLD. Halves are crucial in Origin and QLD needs to find our best combination, I have no idea who links up best with Munste but giving DCE a chance is a reasonable choice. Will it work.? Who knows .
        I would be happy to give Taylor a go. Or whoever but if DCE plays soundly , win , lose or draw he will be picked next year. If he plays like a crock well then I am not so sure.
        To state that if QLD lose DCE is out forecer is just fanciful conjecture.

        • July 5th 2018 @ 1:27pm
          Albo said | July 5th 2018 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

          Jimmy, I just don’t think DCE’s form warrants being selected for QLD. His form has been average to atrocious most of this season for Manly. I have watched him closely this year, as I have stupidly picked and retained him in my Supercoach team all season, waiting for him to eventually come good. On form, I can see no reason why he would be selected ahead of Hunt or Taylor ? Seems the QLD selectors are just at the “wishing & hoping ” stage, without their legends to call upon ?

    • July 5th 2018 @ 9:29am
      paul j said | July 5th 2018 @ 9:29am | ! Report

      Even if Qld won that origin in 2015, DCE still would’ve made way for cronk. Another crappy article based on speculation and innuendo. DCE is still the most overpaid and overrated halfback in the competition. Its hardly unfair to DCE that he’s been chosen now. Win or lose, whether hes kept is up to how he performs during the week and on the night. Its up to him. I’d like to know the source and the evidence of the continuing gossip that DCE wasn’t picked because of personality clashes other than “journalists” trying to justify why he wasnt picked and filling newspapers and websites. He was never going to be picked while Thurston and Cronk were there, they are much superior players in every way. Now they are no longing playing and he does get picked, all this cr@p about poisoned chalice and everything to lose comes out. In the end if DCE plays well and prove finally he can handle pressure then he should be selected next year if playing well

      • Columnist

        July 5th 2018 @ 9:43am
        Tim Gore said | July 5th 2018 @ 9:43am | ! Report

        What total bollock. Overated and overpaid is he… Right. Your opinion is clearly a great one.

        • July 5th 2018 @ 10:27am
          3 recalcitrant monkeys said | July 5th 2018 @ 10:27am | ! Report

          Every one has missed the point of Dces selection he probably won’t set O 3; on fire his figures this year suggest he won’t there is nothing spectacular in reading them. He’s way behind the other QLD halves on try assists so next year he is no certainty of getting first shot at 7 .
          What he most certainly won’t do is give away free 7 tackle sets .he will also feed the ball wide better , work with Slater better and defend better that’s why he has been picked and it’s a good choice for game 3.

          • July 5th 2018 @ 12:11pm
            jimmmy said | July 5th 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

            Again ,far too reasoned a comment for here.

    • Roar Guru

      July 5th 2018 @ 9:37am
      Matt H said | July 5th 2018 @ 9:37am | ! Report

      Hi Tim, someone appears to have spiked your coffee this morning.

      The way I see it, during the Thurston/Cronk years no one was ever going to play as more than injury cover and DCE did that both times the spot was available.

      DCE spent some time on the bench and did ok, but Morgan is a more versatile bench player and made the spot his own.

      There was a case in 2017 for DCE to replace Thurston, but Cronk is the dominant organising half, so for balance QLD were looking for more of a running gamebreaker type at number 6. So QLD tried Milford, who has been very good for Brisbane when he is not asked to play the dominant role (i.e. in 2015 beside Hunt) and then Munster. munster is a pure runner and plays beside Cronk for Melbourne, so for one game that made sense too. Munster had a blinder and cemented his spot. For that game Hunt was brought in as the utility, given he has played a lot of his career at hooker as well as halfback.

      I’m not seeing any anti DCE bias so far.

      Then we come to 2018. Morgan has had a stellar finish to 2017 leading the Cowboys from half back to an unlikely grand final. Morgan is the bovious half back, but he is playing busted and is not going so well. so Morgan is kept on the bench, given he can cover every position except front rower. In the end he is brought in to fullback to replace Slater. Ben Hunt changes clubs and is running around at half back for the ladder leaders. He has previous experience for Australia and QLD. He was in the squad in game 3 of 2017 and you would imagine has spent at least some time with Cameron Munster. I saw DCE is a legitimate option, but opting for Hunt was no surprise.

      And now after two games Hunt has not been able to nail down the spot. Morgan is now gone for the season although I suspect he will be given a good chance to claim the spot in 2019. Hunt is demoted to the bench given his utility value and because Milford has not set the world on fire in that role to date. With the decision made on Hunt, then the half back slot becomes a race between DCE and Taylor. DCE gets it due to his experience.

      I don’t see any bias there either.

      So what happens next? If QLD win DCE has first dibs on the half back slot.
      If QLD loses DCE will again be in the pack with Morgan, Hunt and Taylor. If all four are in form I suspect QLD would go with Morgan first and DCE second. Taylor is unproven and Hunt had his chance.

      So in that you could argue that Hunt and Morgan have been the ones hard done by. Morgan was in incumbent in the team, had just had a break out season and yet was not even given the chance in game 1. Hunt has been given two chances and is punted.

      Only in the world of DCE fans is being picked at half back for QLD a bad thing, based on what might happen in the future.

      • Columnist

        July 5th 2018 @ 9:44am
        Tim Gore said | July 5th 2018 @ 9:44am | ! Report

        During the Lockyer Thurston years Cronk was on the bench. Also only a half.
        Not so for DCE though.

        • Roar Guru

          July 5th 2018 @ 9:57am
          Matt H said | July 5th 2018 @ 9:57am | ! Report

          And that is what you base you allegations of bias on? DCE was given a run on the bench and then Morgan emerged. Seriously, is there a better bench player when on song than Morgan?

          • July 5th 2018 @ 11:37am
            Noel said | July 5th 2018 @ 11:37am | ! Report

            No, sorry Tim. Love your work, and agree that there’s not much upside in DCE’s selection for him personally. But I have to respectfully disagree that Cronk was not on the bench as a ‘pure half’. He was, perhaps still is, the hardest hitting 7 in defence in the game. When he came on, he came on as a ball playing 13. That was always the plan, and a plan that has worked wonders for QLD for many years. Heck, worked when Morgan came on from the bench, and Ponga this year.

      • Roar Rookie

        July 5th 2018 @ 1:03pm
        Joe said | July 5th 2018 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

        Very logical sequence of event Matt H. When you break it down like that doesn’t seem to be too much mystery to it at all. I think it would have been a hard choice between DCE and Taylor. I personally would have gone Taylor as it is a dead rubber. Taylor is an organising half. DCE has shown both in club and state level that he is more of a running half same as Munster. DCE has performed well when he has had organising halves like Green beside him. Unless he has added that to his game I fear QLD will have the same issues as having Hunt there. They can only hope DCE doesn’t have so many game changing errors in his game as Hunt had.

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