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Cherry-Evans makes Origin statement

NZN 25/06/2017 Scott Bailey

Daly Cherry-Evans reckons he's playing better now than when he last played for Queensland, and it showed as he steered Manly into the NRL top four on Sunday with a 35-18 flogging of Cronulla.

Seemingly forgotten in the discussion to replace Johnathan Thurston for next month's State of Origin decider, Cherry-Evans sent a reminder to selectors with three try assists and a field goal against the defending premiers.

The Sharks endured a horror afternoon, which included hooker Jayden Brailey being rushed to hospital after breaking his jaw in a second-half collision.

But it was the man who last played for Queensland in 2015 that orchestrated the demolition to lift Manly to their fourth straight win.

"With time comes experience, so I'd like to think I'm a better player," Cherry-Evans said.

"Only time will tell if I'm ready for Origin again.

"I understand the opportunity that has arisen in that side. The only thing I can do is just show through the Manly side that I'll put my hand up."

Cherry-Evans did exactly that at Southern Cross Group Stadium, regularly directing traffic at NSW five-eighth James Maloney, who missed five tackles.

It was evident when he put second-rower Curtis Sironen in to score in the second set of the match after the Sharks playmaker rushed out of the line.

He then repeated the dose with an inside flick ball for Sironen to score his second, although the second-rower later left the field with a likely pectoral or shoulder injury.

Cherry-Evans also had his third assist in the second half with a spiralling two-man cut-out pass for winger Matthew Wright to score and put the match beyond doubt.

Manly coach Trent Barrett suggested the playmaker should form a bigger part in the Queensland No.6 selection discussion, with Michael Morgan and Cameron Munster the front runners.

"I wouldn't swap him for anyone," Barrett said.

"He's our side. He's our leader. He came up with a couple of plays tonight... and he's doing it every week.

"The opportunities will come for him and he won't disappoint."

His only only blemish came when he threw an intercept ball for Cronulla's Luke Lewis late in the first half, who ran 80 metres to score and threaten a typical Sharks comeback.

But after conceding 18 points in the first 25 minutes, it was a bridge too far for the Sharks, who slipped to fifth after their worst loss of the year.

"The first 20 minutes was awful," coach Shane Flanagan said.

"It was inexcusable."

NSW Origin prop Andrew Fifta was restricted to just 75 metres for Cronulla, his worst output of the year by far.

He was also outplayed by the Manly pack, which included a 224-metre effort from Martin Taupau.

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