25 July, 2024
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Munster gives Dearden faith MCG will be field of dreams


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Cameron Munster will play no on-field role at the MCG in State of Origin II, but he has given five-eighth Tom Dearden the belief he can steer the Maroons to victory against NSW.

Munster is out of the Origin series with a groin injury, but the 23-year-old Dearden has done a stellar job in the Melbourne Storm star’s absence.

The North Queensland co-captain played his part in the 38-10 win in game one and is ready to back up at the MCG and help wrap the series with a match to spare.

Tom Dearden.
 Tom Dearden played his part as Queensland eased to victory in Origin I. Image by Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS 

“Munny has been awesome. He doesn’t necessarily give advice, but he gives me confidence to go out and get the job done,” Dearden said.

“He is a great mentor and a great leader. For him to show that character to talk to me, it’s great.

“Munny is such a great player for Queensland and we all know how influential he is, but every time I do get the opportunity to wear the jersey, it’s special.

“I want to make the most of the opportunity.”

Dearden made his Origin debut in the decider in 2022, when Munster was also out with injury, playing with aplomb to help guide the Maroons to victory.

Coach Billy Slater has shown faith in the youngster, despite the fine form of Brisbane playmaker Ezra Mam and Sydney Roosters half Sam Walker.

“You always have to keep performing and look for ways to get better,” Dearden said.

“It is great for Queensland to have so many young halves that are getting closer to playing Origin.

“I don’t really look at it as pressure. I keep myself honest whether they were nipping at my heels or not. That want to improve I have inside me.

“As much as they are nipping, I just have to focus on my strengths and getting better to get my job done.”

Daly Cherry-Evans is tackled.
 Daly Cherry-Evans could play into his 40s, Maroons No.6 Tom Dearden says. Image by Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS 

Maroons captain Daly Cherry-Evans is 35 and won’t be around forever, with Dearden – who played as a No.7 in his junior days – a candidate to step into that role.

“I’d be prepared to do that,” Dearden said.

“But the way Daly is playing at the moment, he could go on and play forever couldn’t he? Possibly (until he is 40). He is in some great form at the moment.

“Halfback and five-eighth are very similar, both organising roles. I don’t think.”

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