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Morgan may be Qld's odd man out

Test half Michael Morgan may battle to break back into Queensland's State of Origin side when he returns from injury next year.

Morgan may be Qld's odd man out

Test half Michael Morgan may battle to break back into Queensland's State of Origin side when he returns from injury next year.

Coach KEVIN WALTERS calls out instructions to his players during a Queensland Maroons State of Origin training session at Sanctuary Cove in Brisbane, Australia.
Coach KEVIN WALTERS calls out instructions to his players during a Queensland Maroons State of Origin training session at Sanctuary Cove in Brisbane, Australia. Picture:Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Test half Michael Morgan may be the odd man out for Queensland next year after Darren Lockyer all but guaranteed Daly Cherry-Evans and Ben Hunt will retain their Maroons jerseys.

After three years in the wilderness, halfback Cherry-Evans made a triumphant return by inspiring Queensland's 18-12 State of Origin III victory in a fitting farewell for retiring great Billy Slater.


Hunt was also a standout off the bench at dummy half after surrendering the No.7 jersey to Cherry-Evans and being demoted to the interchange for Origin III.

Morgan missed the final two Origins with a season-ending biceps injury but had been expected to slot straight into the halves or feature as a bench utility next year.

However, the North Queensland playmaker may still find himself on the sidelines for the Maroons.

Queensland selector Lockyer claimed No.7 and the interchange role were all but locked up for 2019's opener.

"The jersey Cooper Cronk once wore was up for grabs and Daly was very good," Lockyer told AAP.

"It was a bit of a journey for him to get to this point but he made the most of that opportunity.

"And Ben Hunt was outstanding coming on at hooker. He probably had to pick himself up again not being in seven."

Asked where a fully fit Morgan would fit in the side next year, Lockyer seemed at a loss.

"Ben's (bench utility) role is dummy half and he looks very dangerous there for us," he said.

"Morgan has great utility value but maybe he doesn't play the hooker role as well as Ben Hunt.

"A lot can happen before now and game one next year but the coach will remember what the players did in the jersey (in Origin III) and that will hold them in good stead for next year."

Queensland coach Kevin Walters said Hunt showed he finally belonged in Origin in what was his fourth game for the Maroons.

"He belongs in this arena. It was finding the right role for him and he showed how good he could be," Walters said.

It also ensured a happy send-off for Slater who took over the Maroons reins from the injured Greg Inglis for the first time in his 31st and final Origin.

Queensland's new-look spine is taking shape with Cherry-Evans working seamlessly with Cameron Munster at pivot.

And Hunt worked well in tandem with No.9 Andrew McCullough.

Newcastle's Kalyn Ponga is all but guaranteed Slater's No.1 jersey next year when he returns from injury.

Inglis (thumb) is set to return next year along with Ponga (hamstring), Matt Gillett (neck) and Morgan.

AAP


AAP




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