Daly Cherry-Evans backs Corey Norman to deliver for Queensland in State of Origin III

Pictures: Darren England/AAP Image
Pictures: Darren England/AAP Image

Daly Cherry-Evans believes Corey Norman's almost decade-long wait for representative honours will ensure he produces his best in what promises to be an epic State of Origin decider on Wednesday night.

Norman will make his Origin debut for Queensland at ANZ Stadium as the Maroons look to wrestle back the shield from NSW in front of a sell out crowd in Sydney.

The 28-year-old joined St George Illawarra from Parramatta during the off-season and has formed a dangerous halves pairing with fellow Queensland representative Ben Hunt at the Dragons.

Manly halfback Cherry-Evans will split up the pair's club combination with Hunt shifting to hooker to accommodate the Sea Eagles No.7.

Queensland captain Cherry-Evans, now a veteran of nine Origin appearances for the Maroons, said Norman was ready for one of the biggest matches of his career.

"He's waited a long time. He's played good football for a long period of time. I think when you have to wait for something for so long you don't want to let that opportunity just slip past you," he said.

Spine: Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans with Dragons pair Corey Norman and Ben Hunt. Pictures: AAP

Spine: Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans with Dragons pair Corey Norman and Ben Hunt. Pictures: AAP

"I don't think the occasion is too big for him, I think the moment is right for him. And as long as he believes that he's going to go a long way to making an impact in this game for us.

"We've worked hard. That's why I think [our combination will] work. Both on and off the training paddock we've been talking about footy. We've been trying to understand each other's game as best we can. Preparation has been important for us this game and we've certainly been doing that both on and off the field.

"We've all seen what Corey Norman can do on a footy field and if he brings his best game [on] Wednesday we're going to be alright."

Queensland will be buoyed by their record in Origin deciders. The Blues have lost their last seven straight deciders, having won just four of a total of 19 matches with the series on the line.

New NSW halfback Mitchell Pearce has also lost all seven Origin III matches he has played in, with plenty of pressure on the Newcastle No.7 to deliver on the big stage after replacing the injured Nathan Cleary.

Hunt was one of Queensland's best in their heavy defeat in Origin II in Perth. And Cherry-Evans said his side needed to do more to help the Dragons star become even more damaging.

"I guess my responsibility is probably some communication. We've got to make sure we're nice and clear on what our roles are," he said.

"That'll give Ben Hunt a bit of freedom but also we need to get some quick play the balls for him. There's no reason for Ben Hunt to run off a slow play the ball.

"That's probably a big part of our game is helping Ben Hunt get out of dummy half and we all have a role to play in that whether it's pushing up with the ball or getting quick play the balls."

St George Illawarra will have four of their stars featuring in Origin III. Along with Hunt and debutant Norman, Paul Vaughan and Tyson Frizell will also run out for NSW.

Wade Graham is Cronulla's only game three representative, with the back-rower to come off the bench for the Blues.

David Klemmer is likely to start in the front-row for NSW after he was called into the Blues squad following Dragons forward Tariq Sims' suspension.

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