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Mal Meninga has publicly said recently that the halfback position in the Kangaroos team is Daly Cherry-Evans’ to lose – but will Nathan Cleary force his way in?

Australia don’t play until after the NRL season, and Andrew Johns believes that gives the Penrith superstar plenty of time to leapfrog the incumbent to the front of the line.

“By that stage I think Penrith will win the comp, so Nathan’s a huge chance,” Johns said on Nine’s Freddy and the Eighth.

Cherry-Evans has been in fine form recently, and has another chance to shine this afternoon against the Gold Coast.

Brad Fittler said that although Cherry-Evans was playing well, sometimes, someone is too red hot to ignore.

“Mal’s always held this thought, always backed the incumbents. But if Nathan Cleary goes through and has another fantastic year like he did last year, you’ve got to say he’s nearly done enough,” he said.

“Every now and then someone does take over someone else and takes the mantle off them, but the last couple of weeks, Daly Cherry-Evans has killed it. It’s good, it’s lit a fuse, lit a fire under him.”

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