Jake Trbojevic says his Manly skipper Daly Cherry-Evans thrives on the captaincy and will go to another level as a player if asked to lead Queensland.
Cherry-Evans is firming as the front-runner to take over from retired Maroons captain Greg Inglis ahead of June's State of Origin opener despite only receiving a Queensland recall in game three last year.
The playmaker has already received backing from Maroons mentor Kevin Walters while master coach Wayne Bennett claimed Cherry-Evans was the "logical choice" to be named Queensland skipper.
NSW forward Trbojevic admitted he would not relish lining up against Cherry-Evans if his Sea Eagles teammate was named Maroons captain.
But Trbojevic said the classy No.7 was more than ready to lead his state.
"Obviously I wouldn't want to play him as captain because I know how good he is," he laughed.
"But without doubt he is ready to lead his state.
"Since he has taken over here at Manly he has done a great job and I think his game has gone to another level."
Asked if he expected DCE to find another gear if named Maroons skipper, Trbojevic said: "Yeah I think he plays really well with the captaincy.
"It is something that sits really well with him.
"He could't put his hand up any more (for Queensland captaincy), his leadership has been awesome - I hope that he gets it."
It would mark a remarkable turnaround for Cherry-Evans if he was named as Inglis' successor.
His call-up for game three of 2018 ended a three-year Origin exile after rumours that he had fallen out with senior Queensland players.
But it seems DCE is needed more than ever following Queensland's loss of greats Inglis, Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater.
Walters gave his strongest indication yet that he was ready to hand Cherry-Evans the captaincy on Tuesday.
"DCE is playing some good footy. We will have to find a captain somewhere and he is certainly putting his hand up to be the next leader of the Maroons," Walters told Sky Sports Radio.
Australian Associated Press