Paul Gallen has been a fantastic leader for the Cronulla Sharks. At times he has taken opposition teams on single handedly up front, hitting the ball up without fear, making a million tackles, he has simply never let the Sharks down.
At State Of Origin level it has been more of the same. Even as he was moved into the front row Gallen has been tremendous. Even with New South Wales having lost seven series in a row, Gallen has cemented himself a place in State Of Origin history for his performances for the Blues.
There is a growing feeling though among Sharks supporters that Gallen is move focused on play for New South Wales than he has been the Cronulla Sharks. It is something that has been brought up to be a number of times offer the last month of so by Cronulla Sharks fans.
Gallen is in a difficult position in that he captains both his club and his state. When State Of Origin rolls around the media, and most Rugby League fans, all focus on State Of Origin football. When the NSW captain talks about State Of Origin footy, he usually makes headlines. So at this time of the year you could be forgive for thinking that all Gallen is talking about is the State Of Origin series.
Over the last few years Gallen has been hit by injuries around Origin time and it has seen him miss games for the Cronulla Sharks while turning out for New South Wales. I don’t think Sharks fans can be critical of this. I don’t think Gallen has missed a single game for the Sharks he was healthy enough to play in. I don’t think he has saved himself to play for new South Wales at any stage.
I would go as far as to say that Gallen has probably turned out for the Blue when at times a lot of other players would have needed a few more weeks to recover from injuries. It may seem like he invests everything into playing for New South Wales, but a truly believe that Gallen gives the same commitment to the Cronulla Sharks and Australia when given the chance.
One thing that worries me about Paul Gallen is that the game will burn him out ahead of time. At 31, Gallen hasn’t got too many more years ahead of him. Very few front rowers have much to offer past the age of 31 and I think with the hard miles Gallen has put in in recent years as well as the injuries he has sustained, we could see Gallen’s performances on the field fall off a cliff over the next couple of season.
For any Cronulla Sharks fan or New South Wales fan, that is a horrifying thought.
It shows how much his club and state has relied on him. That the idea of not having Gallen in the lineup is simply terrifying!
When Paul Gallens career comes to an end, he won’t have the same long list of achievements as someone like Darren Lockyer or Cameron Smith. It will not take away from the player he has been over the years or the commitment he has given every team he has played for.
I think Paul Gallen would give back his entire State Of Origin career for success for the Cronulla Sharks. I don’t think Sharks fans have anything to worry about.
If Paul Gallen is fit, he will play…and he will be one of the best players on the field.
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
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