DCE ‘not entertaining retirement’ from Maroons just yet

Joel Gould |

Daly Cherry-Evans misses his young family in State of Origin camp but the Queensland captain insists he’s “not entertaining” representative retirement just yet.

Cherry-Evans, 34, will play his 20th Origin match for Queensland in Adelaide on May 31 to qualify for the prestigious FOGS Dick ‘Tosser’ Turner Medal.

Maroons stalwart Josh Papalii and NSW’s Jack Wighton recently retired from Origin football.

Cherry-Evans said “two things” would inform him on how long to keep going.

“Am I contributing to the Queensland team and is it right for the balance of my lifestyle? It is those two things and nothing more,” he told AAP.

“I haven’t entertained (Origin) retirement too much just yet but the thing that pulls me away, if anything, is my family.

“If I still feel as though I can give Queensland the best person for the (captaincy) job and at halfback I am going to keep doing it.

“When that life balance thing comes into play that is the only thing that makes me think otherwise.

“My kids’ ages at the moment are 10, eight and five. As I get older, the one thing that does make me think about (retirement) is just missing my kids as they get through these really cool ages.”

Cherry-Evans has taken his game to new heights. He is running for 87m per game this year for Manly, his best ever numbers. Against the Broncos recently he clocked 36 tackles, an extraordinary amount for a half.

It was that area of his game in the big moments that came to the fore in last year’s win in the Origin series decider after coach Billy Slater spoke to him.

“To be honest I probably have to give Billy a wrap. Last year he challenged me coming into the series to work on my defence and I took a lot out of that. It was a challenge and there was detail around how,” he said.

“I really enjoyed that and from there training-wise I have added more things to my program to make me feel better defensively. I have been really proactive and taking it into games. I feel like it is a different level of form that I have hit.”

Players often say when the thrill is gone they know the end is nigh. That’s not the case with Cherry-Evans.

“The call that Billy gives you before selection last night … I just never get sick of hearing the coach says, ‘Congratulations. You are our halfback and captain again’,” he said.

“It is just that reassurance that, ‘You are in and you are the guy that is going to lead us out’. I take so much pride in that and have so much gratitude. It still means a lot to me. All that drive is still there.

“All those factors that come with this age, when you think about retirement, of course they are there … but at the moment I am not entertaining it.

“As for the occasion … the game and how enjoyable camp is … I don’t think I will ever not want to be involved with what Origin is. It is just fantastic.”