National News

Maroons fans will love DCE, says Walters

Boos once echoed around Suncorp Stadium when polarising playmaker Daly Cherry-Evans ran on to the Maroons' hallowed turf.

But coach Kevin Walters said Queensland's faithful will finally embrace the halfback in this year's State of Origin series, before Cherry-Evans was officially unveiled as captain on Monday night.

Not so long ago DCE was public enemy No.1 in Brisbane with rumours the classy No.7 had fallen out with the Maroons' hierarchy.

Jeers turned to cheers when he took the first step towards redemption after ending a three-year exile and inspiring Queensland's Origin III victory over NSW in Brisbane last year.

However, Walters reckoned Cherry-Evans would finally be accepted by the Queensland public in 2019 just hours before the No.7 was confirmed as Maroons captain on Monday night.

"He showed last year what a player he is in that Maroons jersey," Walters said.

"And he is a more experienced, settled player now. They are going to absolutely love him."

Walters tipped the love-in to start at June 5's Origin opener at Suncorp, backing the playmaker to overcome an ankle injury.

Cherry-Evans hasn't played an NRL game in a month after undergoing surgery, but Walters dismissed any fitness concerns.

"I believed he could get it right. It's amazing when you really believe in something how it can come true," Walters said.

Cherry-Evans further buoyed expectation when he claimed he would be "100 per cent" for Origin I.

"I wouldn't put myself in the situation to hurt not just myself, but the team," Cherry-Evans said after arriving in Brisbane on Monday.

"It (recovery) is obviously going really well and the fact that Kevvie has selected me shows how productive the last couple of weeks have been, so there are really good signs.

"I understood what was at stake and the opportunity ahead for Queensland, so I was definitely happy to put in the (recovery) work - I am pumped to be here."

The jury may still be out on how Maroons fans feel about DCE but Walters said the halfback had already won him over.

"He has done everything possible to get himself right (after ankle surgery) - the doctor and the physios are shaking their heads at how much he has progressed," Walters said.

"It's a look at his character.

"Sometimes his character has been judged. Well, there is character right there, doing what he has to do to get his ankle right to play for Queensland.

"To me that is a strong person and it is inspiring for the whole team what he has gone through to get himself right for this game.

"It just shows what it means for him to be part of this great Queensland team."

© AAP 2019