Gallen Can't Wait For Blues Gen-Next
Outgoing Blues skipper Paul Gallen says he's looking forward to see the Origin tide turning in the near future and can't wait to see the next generation of NSW stars lead the charge.
Ahead of his final ever interstate match – his 24th in sky blue – the 34-year-old was optimistic that the new wave of NSW Origin players blooded in the past two series would be able to create their own Origin dynasty.
Following a series where debutants Tyson Frizell and Jack Bird have stamped themselves as Origin players of the future, and with recent debutants like Josh Jackson, Boyd Cordner and Aaron Woods now earmarked as potential leaders of the future, Gallen said he was looking forward to sitting in the stands in the years to come and cheering them on.
The Cronulla skipper also nominated Manly youngster Jake and Tom Trbojevic – the most recent development players brought into Blues camp – as ones to watch in the near future.
"Jack Bird… Josh Jackson's a terrific kid. These Trbojevic boys that have been in training, I can't speak highly enough of them, they're great. They're almost too nice and they're great young players as well," Gallen said in his final ever pre-Origin press conference on Monday morning.
"I was having a chat to Jacko the other day and I told him I can't wait 'til this turns, I hope it turns in Wednesday night and gives us some confidence going forward.
"I'll be sitting in ANZ Stadium cheering them on [from next year] and have nothing but support for them. I hope it does turn. Queensland do have some good young players coming through but I think NSW have got the next good crop of Origin players coming through."
Despite the series being lost, Gallen said a win in Wednesday's dead rubber would be crucial for the confidence and momentum of those next generation players heading into next year.
"[This game] means a helluva lot to me personally because I want to finish on a win obviously, but I think it means more for me for the boys going forward. You don't want to lose three nil," he said, adding the 2010 clean sweep was "embarrassing".
"We've made so many steps forward. Winning 2014, I thought we made some good steps forward last year, to be down two nil it's just such a shame.
"We don't deserve it I don't believe and the young boys moving forward, they need some confidence going into next year and that's why we need to be totally desperate on Wednesday night in everything we do."
Gallen was more cautious when asked to nominate his successor as skipper but said there is no shortage of options.
"That's a tough question, I knew that would come up today. I really don't want to speculate on it," he said.
"There's three or four guys I think. Woods is a captain already, Wade Graham's a captain in the making, Boyd Cordner…
"There's a lot of guys but I don't want to put the pressure on anyone, I just want to concentrate on this game. Get a win.
"I'll discuss that with Laurie over the next 12 months. I'm happy to help out there, I'm happy to talk to any of the boys who need help in getting to that next level but I'm not exactly sure."
Of his own legacy, Gallen hoped he'd just be remembered as a player who did his best and hopefully inspired a few kids to want to play rugby league.
"I haven't thought too much about it until last night, it is getting closer now only two days out and it is going to be the end for me but I can be proud of what I have done," he said.
"Just a guy who did his best and always put his best foot forward for NSW.
"Hopefully some of my talk and some of my actions on the field I've inspired some kids to play rugby league and want to play for NSW one day and that's our job as current day footballers.
"I have done my best, no-one can take that away from me and it would be nice to have had a bit more success, but that wasn't to be.
"Wednesday night is about the next generation and about us getting the win to prove we can beat these blokes and they can go into next year with some confidence."
This article first appeared on NRL.com
Farewell one of our greatest Origin captains, Paul Gallen, by being a part of The Star-backed Blatchys Blues for Origin III. Click here to purchase tickets and to secure a seat to witness history. Don’t forget, for all the latest on the VB Blues and State of Origin, download the official NSWRL app and make www.NSWRL.com.au your homepage.