Daly Cherry-Evans
Daly Cherry-Evans David Stuart

Monday Magistrate: Skipper change for Maroons? Not yet

WHY Cameron Smith would this week publicly anoint his successor as Maroons Origin captain is interesting, but somewhat curious.

I doubt many would disagree with his choice being Daly Cherry-Evans.

But while announcing he was keen to play on for another three years, why would Smith bother to put his neck on the line by naming his heir apparent now?

In 12 months the landscape could change remarkably, let alone in three to four years.

Besides, when Smith does pull the pin, Cherry-Evans will be 29 or 30.

Maybe by then coach Mal Meninga and the QRL hierarchy might see more value in a younger man leading the Maroons - someone like Michael Morgan or Anthony Milford or an emerging rookie. But no doubt Smith tipping his hat to Cherry-Evans is a reflection of his honesty, and his sincerity.

And that character trait is a quality both men share.

Smith actually described Cherry-Evans as the perfect all-round captaincy package.

Not only did he heap praise on his playing ability, but extolled his on-field demeanour, his calmness under pressure and his ambassadorial traits.

He also applauded his media persona and his eloquence, and described him as an ambassador for the game.

Sound familiar?

It is almost like Smith talking about himself.


Like Cameron Smith, I think DCE fits the Queensland captaincy bill perfectly - when it becomes vacant.

Until then, it seems senseless talking about who is next in line because so much can change in three to four years.

Smith touched on various issues in his extensive weekend newspaper interview, much of it revealing.

And the fact that he wants to play on for so much longer will be music to the ears of Queensland and Melbourne fans, but should also be welcomed by the rugby league community in general.

Players of his quality, with his presence and calmness on the field, are once in a generation and deserve to be respected, even though they are not always feted by opposing fans.

The fact he wants to keep playing at the very top level until his career is finished says much about his love for the game.

But despite Smith giving much in his revealing interview, his passion for the game was not quite as effusive as the feelings expressed earlier in the week by Billy Slater.

When quizzed on his future at Origin and Test level, the Storm and Maroons fullback said that if picked, he would play on until he could no longer walk.

That is the kind of hunger that has kept the bulk of this brilliant bunch of Queenslanders together, so successfully, for a decade.

And it is the same trademark passion that will get them over the line in Sydney on Wednesday night.