DCE to skipper Aust PM’s 13


SYDNEY: Daly Cherry-Evans was so committed to breaking into the Australian side that he refused to book holidays following his NRL season and has been training by himself for weeks to stay in shape.
Cherry-Evans was given due reward for his determination yesterday when he was named captain in Mal Meninga’s Prime Minister’s 13 to take on Papua New Guinea next weekend.
With long-time Australian halves Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston bowing out of representative football, spots are up for grabs for the Kangaroos’ upcoming tests against New Zealand and Tonga.
“I certainly understand the situation with such amazing footballers retiring from rep football, the opportunity is massive and I’ve been lucky enough to get first opportunity with the prime minister’s side,” Cherry-Evans said.
“That’ll be in the best interests of me trying to get on the tour.”
Cherry-Evans has been named in the halves alongside Cowboys youngster Jake Clifford, with Ben Hunt listed at hooker.
The Manly skipper is one of a number of potential Australian players in the 20-man squad to battle the Kumuls in Port Moresby along with Jake Trbojevic, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Tyson Frizell, Aaron Woods and David Klemmer.
Meninga has also included a sprinkling of unheralded young talent including Brisbane’s Corey Allan and Gehamat Shibasaki, St George Illawarra’s Zac Lomax and Reece Robson and the Cowboys’ Enari Tuala
After Manly’s failure to make the top eight, Cherry-Evans gave himself a few weeks off to rest some niggling injuries but got back on the training paddock and in the gym just in case he received a call-up from Meninga.
His game-winning performance for Queensland in State of Origin III only fuelled his representative dream and he heads to PNG driven to add to his 11 Kangaroos appearances.
“If I’m honest I was pretty optimistic about wanting to get on this tour, starting with this game,” Cherry-Evans said.
“I didn’t book (holidays). I was focused on being available and keeping my body in check for an opportunity.
“I didn’t get a heads up on it, I wanted to make sure if the call came I was ready.”
Jillaroos coach Brad Donald also named a women’s PM’s XIII team that will play a match in PNG, with Rebecca Young appointed captain.
Australian Prime Minister’s XIII: Corey Allan (Broncos), Zac Lomax (Dragons), Jesse Ramien (Sharks), Brian Kelly (Sea Eagles), Nick Cotric (Raiders), Jake Clifford (Cowboys), Daly Cherry-Evans (Sea Eagles), David Klemmer (Bulldogs), Ben Hunt (Dragons), Jordan McLean (Cowboys), Tyson Frizell (Dragons), Tyrone Peachey (Panthers), Jake Trbojevic (Sea Eagles). Bench: Aaron Woods (Sharks), Reagan Campbell-Gillard (Panthers), Matt Prior (Sharks), Chad Townsend (Sharks), Gehamat Shibasaki (Broncos), Reece Robson (Dragons), Enari Tuala (Cowboys). – AAP