Andrew Johns calls out Daly Cherry-Evans over ugly State of Origin act that everyone missed

The NSW legend has identified a 'cheap shot' from the Queensland captain from Origin 1.

Andrew Johns has warned Daly Cherry-Evans to prepare for plenty of tackling in State of Origin 2 after calling out a 'cheap shot' from the Queensland captain that went largely unnoticed in Game 1. Cherry-Evans produced a masterclass in the series opener as the Maroons ran out 38-10 winners against a 12-man NSW side.

But Johns reckons Cherry-Evans will have it much tougher in Game 2, and Latrell Mitchell will torment the Maroons skipper on the edges. Speaking on Sunday, Johns accused Cherry-Evans of a dirty act in Game 1 when he appeared to shove Angus Crichton in the face after the NSW forward dropped the ball.

Andrew Johns and Daly Cherry-Evans.
Andrew Johns has called out Daly Cherry-Evans over an ugly incident in State of Origin 1. Image: Getty/Channel 9

“I actually saw a clip of a bit of cheap shot from Daly,” Johns said on the Sunday Footy Show. “He got Angus on the ground, so Angus don’t cop that mate.

“Daly is on top of his game, but good luck tackling Latrell. Valentine Holmes is already talking it up saying 'he will get in Latrell’s face' - so he is in their heads.

“The right side of Queensland is a target. The gap between DCE and Holmes - that space between the halfback and centre - that’s where NSW will apply pressure with Angus, Latrell, Dylan Edwards and Jarome (Luai) floating around. That will be the spot they target, especially with Latrell. He is NSW’s X-factor. Latrell is inside their heads, it is good.”

Daly Cherry-Evans, pictured here shoving Angus Crichton in the face in State of Origin 1.
Daly Cherry-Evans was spotted shoving Angus Crichton in the face. Image: Channel 9

As Johns mentioned, Holmes has made it his goal to not let Mitchell beat him in Origin 2. Mitchell will be playing his first game for NSW since 2021 and has never lost an Origin series he's been a part of.

His battle with Holmes on the edge shapes as a game-deciding one. "I've played alongside him (for Australia) so I know he is pretty dangerous when he attacks the line," Holmes said last week. "It is a while since he has played in the Origin arena so we will try and get to him in ways that slow him up a bit. I have just got be in his face and make my tackles.

Daly Cherry-Evans and Queensland Maroons teammates.
Daly Cherry-Evans and Maroons players celebrate after State of Origin 1. Image: Getty

"In club footy when I play centre and he is fullback (for South Sydney) and he sweeps around the back you try and make decisions on him. It has not been centre-on-centre because he hasn't really played centre when I have played it.

"He is pretty aggressive so he will probably come out and look to jam Walshy (fullback Reece Walsh) and get into our back five early. We have to be wary of that and make him work a bit more than he does at Souths."

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As for Mitchell, he's just happy to be back in the Origin arena for the first time in three years. Injury ruined his State of Origin hopes last year, but his form over the last month was too hard to ignore for NSW coach Michael Maguire.

"I'm going to play, have fun and enjoy myself," Mitchell said last week. "If I put pressure on myself then I'll focus on that all week and my preparation will go out the window. For me it's about creating bonds, getting up to (NSW camp in) the Blue Mountains, rugging up and going from there."