Cherry-Evans turns from villain to hero
DALY Cherry-Evans, all is forgiven.
The Queensland No.7 walked into Suncorp Stadium ready to pull off the ultimate State of Origin redemption story.
All week Cherry-Evans had turned on the charm offensive off the field, trying to win his way back into the hearts of Queenslanders.
And while they may have booed him before the game when his face flashed up on the big screen, Maroons fans were more than happy to claim him as one of their own when that full-time hooter sounded.
There is no denying that Cherry-Evans won Queensland the game.
No moment capped off his return better than his try in the 57th minute - it was the try that sealed the match at 18-12.
His halves partner Cameron Munster made the break and offloaded to Gavin Cooper who found Cherry-Evans racing through on his inside.
It epitomised the halfback's performance across the entire night.
He was everywhere, always in support of his teammates, making the most of his second chance.
The comeback kid suffered through a three-year Origin exile but he should not be subjected to that again.
Alongside skipper Billy Slater, Cherry-Evans led Queensland to their only win of the 2018 series.
From the moment he entered The Cauldron, it was clear that Cherry-Evans was a man on a mission.
His combination with Slater was particularly impressive, with the duo playing a hand in Valentine Holmes' second half try.
But the impact of his presence was most noticeable midway through the first half, when Queensland notched up an astounding seven straight sets.
In the 30th minute, they had 70 per cent of the possession and the majority of that came off the back of Cherry-Evans' kicking game.
It was an area Queensland had been lacking in throughout Games One and Two and his accuracy showed why the team desperately needed him.
The Maroons as a whole failed to capitalise on those efforts, with Queensland's only points in that period coming when they took a penalty goal after James Maloney was sin-binned for running Slater off the ball.
But Cherry-Evans did not put his head down.
He was selected for his leadership and that is what he showed as he helped guide Queensland to victory and sent the retiring Slater out as a winner.