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Maroons end DCE exile, name Slater skipper


(AAP Image/Joe Castro)

Three years in the State of Origin wilderness are officially over for Daly Cherry-Evans after the Manly skipper was recalled for July 11's dead rubber in Brisbane.

Cherry-Evans will replace halfback Ben Hunt, who moves to the interchange bench for the revamped Maroons led by new skipper Billy Slater.

Veteran fullback Slater will become the Maroons' 14th captain in his 31st and final Origin match, replacing Greg Inglis (broken thumb).

The Maroons were forced to delay their scheduled Sunday night game three team announcement until Monday after Inglis broke down in South Sydney's NRL win over North Queensland.

Queensland were also hit by injuries to bench utility Kalyn Ponga (hamstring) and prop Dylan Napa (knee), who was named at 18th man but not expected to play.

"He's been knocking on the door for several years now for that elusive opportunity and I just feel the time is right for that opportunity," Queensland coach Kevin Walters said of Cherry-Evans' recall.

Cherry-Evans slots in for Hunt who was criticised for his attacking options with NSW a man down in the final 10 minutes of Queensland's 18-14 game two loss.

Cherry-Evans played the last of his six Origins back in 2015, fuelling speculation that the polarising Sea Eagles playmaker had fallen out with the Maroons.

Asked if Cherry-Evans had fallen out with the Maroons, Walters said: "I have denied those rumours from day dot.

"The dealings with him over my time I have never had a problem with him and neither do any of the players.

"If DCE can have a good performance on Wednesday week there is no reason why he can't be back next year."

Walters has endured a nightmare start to life without retired Maroons greats Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston as he looks to send out retiring Maroons great Slater a winner.

Walter hoped Slater's elevation as skipper would help the Maroons avoid suffering their first NSW whitewash since 2000 and fourth overall in Origin history.

"Regardless of the result Billy is a winner. It's a really special moment for him captaining his state at Suncorp Stadium in his last game for Queensland," Walters said.

"The other 16 players owe Billy Slater a send off that is just right for him. I know you don't always get what you want but certainly we have plenty to play for."

Inglis' injury forced a backline reshuffle with Dane Gagai switching to the centres with Brisbane's Corey Oates recalled on the wing.

Gold Coast's Jai Arrow has moved from the bench to prop for Napa while Josh Papalii also graduated to the starting front row with maligned Queensland prop Jarrod Wallace on the bench.

Queensland: Billy Slater (c), Valentine Holmes, Dane Gagai, Will Chambers, Corey Oates, Cameron Munster, Daly Cherry-Evans, Jai Arrow, Andrew McCullough, Josh Papalii, Gavin Cooper, Felise Kaufusi, Josh McGuire. Interchange: Ben Hunt, Jarrod Wallace, Coen Hess, Tim Glasby. 18th man: Dylan Napa.

© AAP 2018

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