As Daly Cherry-Evans and Nathan Cleary grapple for Australia’s halfback spot at the Rugby League World Cup, Kangaroos great Paul Gallen has raised one concern surrounding the Penrith No.7.
Gallen has no doubt Cleary is “the best halfback in the competition”, but he’s wary of the Test rookie’s undeveloped combination with five-eighth Cameron Munster.
Conversely, Cherry-Evans and Munster have played ample footy together in the halves for Australia and Queensland, and reunited as the Kangaroos smashed Fiji 42-8 in Leeds on Sunday morning (AEDT).
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Nathan Cleary’s undeveloped combination with Cameron Munster is a concern amid his grapple for the Australian halfback spot with Daly Cherry-Evans, Paul Gallen says. (Getty)
Gallen also believes it would be “harsh” if Cherry-Evans lost the mantle less than six months after captaining the Maroons to a State of Origin series triumph.
“Do they have enough time to build a combination between Cleary and Munster?” Gallen said on Wide World of Sports’ 2GB radio.
“Or do they stick with Cherry-Evans and Munster because they have that Origin combination?
“I’m not too sure.”
Gallen revisited the Australian team he selected on Nine’s 100% Footy in September, which had Munster at five-eighth, Cleary at halfback and Cherry-Evans as the bench utility.
Phil Gould also picked Munster and Cleary as his halves, but opted for Ben Hunt as his No.14 and snubbed Cherry-Evans.
Daly Cherry-Evans shapes to pass during Australia’s World Cup opener against Fiji. (Getty)
“Cherry-Evans has played that 14 role quite a bit, particularly when he first started Origin when the likes of Johnathan Thurston were still around. He played that 14 role and did really well at it,” Gallen said.
“But I think when you look at how Ben Hunt played on the weekend (against Fiji) … then obviously Harry Grant came on and he was absolutely dynamic. I think they’ve probably got those positions sewn up, those two.
“To leave Cherry-Evans out of the side totally, the Queensland captain after winning the series, I think would be harsh.
“But, as I said, I do think Cleary is the No.1 halfback in the world at the moment and does deserve to get that Australian spot.”
Australia will continue its World Cup defence in a clash with Scotland in Coventry on Saturday morning.
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Source by wwos.nine.com.au