Daniel Lane of the Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that Paul Gallen will make his boxing debut on the 19th of February, just weeks before the Cronulla Sharks season kickoff against the Gold Coast Titans on the 10th of March.
It is a very strange decision by Gallen to take part in the bout just ahead of the NRL season kickoff, especially considering he is recovering from off season elbow surgery.
Cronulla Sharks fans must be scratching their head at the timing of the bout.
After a season from hell in 2013 and with the club on the verge of possibly being torn to shreds by suspensions and fines in the aftermath of the ASADA investigation, the last thing the club needs is for its captain to be distracted by another sport.
At this time of the year you’d hope that clubs and players are all pulling in the same direction. Pre season preparation is important and the last thing any club needs is a distraction.
The Sharks already have their fair share of distractions, so why would Gallen add boxing to the mix?
On the field you can not question that Gallen runs himself into the ground for the Sharks. Does that give him a free pass to focus on another sport weeks ahead of season kickoff?
It is hard to imagine too many other sporting clubs allowing one of their best players to take part in a boxing match so close to a season kick off.
What happens if Gallen picks up a concussion? What happens if he breaks his wrist or his hand? Forget the questions regarding his focus, just the possibility of losing him to injury is too much of a risk of you ask me.
It is not the first time Gallen’s commitment to the Cronulla Sharks has been brought into question. Last season during the State Of Origin series Gallen seemingly chose the Blue over his club. It was an article I wrote expecting to cop a lot of flack, but surprisingly a lot of Sharks fans agreed with me.
Gallen is the latest in a long line of NRL players that have tried their hand at boxing. Most of them have been nothing short of terrible. The one that stands out for me the most is Carl Webb who was mentioned as a former junior boxing champion his entire career. When he finally stepped into the ring he was terrible. He was knocked out in his boxing debut and that was that.
Gallen seems really keen to pursue a career in boxing and good luck to him. I think there is an appropriate time for boxing though. That isn’t a few weeks out from season kickoff.
Having said all that, with everything Gallen and the Sharks could be facing this year, this may be a case of now or never for the Sharks captain.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com