Gallen looks to set his own record
WHILE much has been made of Queensland captain Cameron Smith setting a new record for most Origins in game one, rival skipper Paul Gallen is also hoping to write his own fairytale in the 2016 series.
Smith has no plans to hang up his boots anytime soon, but Gallen has already confirmed this series would be his last for the Blues.
Provided he plays all three games this year, the 34-year-old will bypass the present record of most Origins by a New South Wales captain.
Former Newcastle star Danny Buderus holds that mantle with 15, one ahead of Brad Fittler, with Gallen and present Blues coach Laurie Daley on 13.
While finishing his career with the record would be a feather in his cap, Gallen would give that up to go out with a second series victory against Queensland.
His first came in 2014, with his own efforts resulting in him being named player of the series.
He has already made an impact on the NSW team before game one, making a stirring speech in camp at Coffs Harbour that left a big impression on the Blues players, including fellow prop James Tamou.
"Everyone was buzzing at training because Gal got up and said a few things to everyone," Tamou said. "We kicked off training not long after that speech - everyone was raring to go.
"He just said: 'You're not an Origin player just because you have been given a NSW jersey. It's all about what you do out there on Wednesday night'."
Gallen has not only talked the talk, he has walked the walk in every one of his 21 Origins for the Blues.
And never more so than in Game II of the 2011 series, turning in arguably the most dominant performance by a forward in Origin history.
In a relentless 80-minute display, he gained 212m from 27 carries, made 32 tackles and won his first man of the match award as the Blues won an all-out war 18-8. That's what makes you not only an Origin player, but an Origin captain.