Injury rules Gallen out of Origin opener - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Injury rules Gallen out of Origin opener

By Todd Balym 30/05/2009 02:54:26 PM Comments (0)

NSW lock Paul Gallen has been ruled out of Wednesday's State of Origin series opener against Queensland due to a shoulder injury.

Gallen has been under an injury cloud since entering the camp last Tuesday and his place will be taken by fellow Test forward Anthony Laffranchi, who joined the Blues camp on Thursday.

It is the second forced change to the NSW side after fellow Test forward Glenn Stewart was suspended by the NRL judiciary on Wednesday.

Stewart's place has since been taken by Penrith utility Luke Lewis.

Gallen's withdrawal caps one of the worst periods in the Cronulla captain's career with his NRL club in turmoil and his own leadership position under review following claims of racial abuse one week ago.

NSW coach Craig Bellamy has yet to decide who will take Gallen's place in the starting side with both Lewis and Laffranchi vying for the run-on role.

Meanwhile, NSW utility Craig Wing has warned the Baby Blues not to underestimate the intensity of State of Origin football, particularly against a Queensland side with a history of never giving up.

Wing is the most successful player in the NSW squad and, along with late-inclusion Luke Lewis, the only Blue to have won more Origin games than he has lost.

Wing, a 10-game veteran, says he will tell the seven rookies in the NSW team that Origin is a relentless experience where even the smallest moment of complacency could mean the difference between winning and losing.

"My advice is don't stop," he said.

"On the field just do not stop. If you stop you'll get caught out, no matter where the ball is.

"I've been in that Origin where Timmo (Shaun Timmins) kicked the field goal and the one where Finchy (Brett Finch) kicked that field goal (to win).

"It's the littlest things that can turn a game and win a game.

"If the effort is there the whole time regardless of the score then anything can happen."

Queensland stars Johnathan Thurston and Justin Hodges have talked a strong game all week, putting the spotlight on the NSW debutants NSW by insisting they'll be "scared" when they finally enter the Origin cauldron.

Wing is wise enough to sidestep the mind games, and says he will remind NSW that Queensland's incumbent Test backline means nothing when push comes to shove on Wednesday night at Etihad Stadium.

"We're not really concerned about them, we're just focusing on ourselves," said Wing.

"It takes many things (to win in Origin) but really it's just attitude and commitment.

"I've played in games where we were favourites and if you looked on paper we had a better team and we lost because they had a better attitude than us and put in more effort.

"That is what it comes down to. We have enough skilful players here to make anything happen, and the same on their side, but it's just the team that wants to work the hardest usually comes out with the win."

"From my experience in Origin, if the effort is there anything can happen."

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