AAP Rugby

Hunt, Cherry-Evans in Origin stalemate

By AAP Newswire

Ben Hunt commanded St George Illawarra to their NRL win over Manly but the battle between him and Daly Cherry-Evans could only be ruled a dead heat.

Hunt has made no secret of his desire to win back the Queensland No.7 jersey for this year's State of Origin series, after being displaced by Cherry-Evans for Game III last year.

The pair are almost certain to both figure somewhere for the Maroons, but Cherry-Evans is favoured to captain from halfback while Hunt plays at either hooker or off the bench.

Both showed their wares in Saturday night's showdown as they were involved in both their teams' tries.

Hunt grubbered twice for tries in the 12-10 win, evidently cool under pressure as he kicked for winger Mikaele Ravalawa to give the Dragons the lead with three minutes to go.

He also forced two line drop-outs and another turnover with his short kicking game, as he and Corey Norman controlled the game for the Dragons at WIN Stadium.

"It's not a fluke, they practice pretty hard during the week and their execution under pressure has been great," Dragons coach Paul McGregor said.

"Our game management has been good most of the year ... each week we're very patient.

"There was every chance tonight we would get frustrated with what was going on out there. But we were patient and got to our kick in every set."

Cherry-Evans wasn't to be outdone though.

He scored once while looming in support play close to the line and set up another try for centre Brad Parker with a flat pass before the line.

His kicking was also just as impressive, as he and five-eighth Kane Elgey continue to build their combinations.

"Both played a big part in each of their teams' quests tonight," Manly coach Des Hasler said of the two No.7s.

"I'm going to be a little bit biased but I thought Cherry probably got the points tonight."