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Mixed feelings for DCE as Trbojevic replaces Tedesco

3 minute read

Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans is gutted that NSW captain James Tedesco has been dropped but proud of Manly teammate Jake Trbojevic for filling breach.

DALY CHERRY-EVANS.
DALY CHERRY-EVANS. Picture: Mark Nolan/Getty Images

Queensland skipper Daly Cherry-Evans says the axing of former NSW captain James Tedesco "sucks" because he has been in the same position and understands the pain.

On the flip side it is a bittersweet moment as Jake Trbojevic, his soulful, competitive Manly teammate and great friend, has become NSW skipper instead.

Cherry-Evans, 35, and 30-year-old Trbojevic will go head-to-head in an old-fashioned 'mate v mate' State of Origin confrontation in Sydney on June 5 in the State of Origin series opener.

"That theme hasn't necessarily disappeared but it has been a bit hard to lean into a bit lately, without those sort of rivalries," Maroons half Cherry-Evans said.

"But two (Origin) captains each coming from the same club is as good as it gets,"

The pair mark the first club teammates to captain opposing states since 2000, when Sydney Roosters duo Brad Fittler and Adrian Lam led NSW and Queensland.

Cherry-Evans is also a good friend of Tedesco, shares the same management company, and has represented Australia alongside him.

The 2011 premiership winner was dropped in 2015 from the Maroons and spent three years in the Origin wilderness.

So news of 31-year-old fullback Tedesco's axing in favour of Penrith's Dylan Edwards - after Tedesco and Cherry-Evans had contested four consecutive Origin series against each other as opposition captains - hit home.

"That's hard because I have been there before. I have been dropped from Queensland and it sucks," Cherry-Evans said.

"There are really no words to explain it because we as footy players want to keep doing it forever and ever.

"I'm not here to say the door is shut on Teddy to play for the Blues ever again but obviously it hurts initially.

"They have ... gone with Dylan. Madge (NSW coach Michael Maguire) is obviously not afraid to make the moves that he thinks will put them in the best position.

"As a friend of Teddy's, it was definitely disappointing."

Cherry-Evans explained his mixed emotions in a nutshell.

"Teddy gets dropped and my current teammate becomes captain. It is hard not to be really happy and proud for Jake for how hard he has worked and his perseverance as a footy player," Cherry-Evans said.

"He continually rocks up and plays good footy each week and it is amazing to see where he is now. He is NSW captain."

It is why Cherry-Evans expects to face a NSW side, led by middle forward Trbojevic, that will give no quarter.

"He is a win-at-all-costs player. Jake doesn't have a good poker face," Cherry-Evans grinned.

"That is the best way to explain it. If (Manly) have lost, he is not happy. With the wins, he rides them just as hard as anyone else. I am really proud of Jake. He has worked so hard and been super-competitive for a long time."

Cherry-Evans said he had texted Trbojevic "to say congrats" but that they wouldn't speak again before the series opener.

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