Gallen vows to take on Qld head on - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gallen vows to take on Qld head on

By Steve Jancetic 14/06/2011 06:43:45 PM Comments (0)

He may well possess the broadest shoulders in the state, and now NSW skipper Paul Gallen wants to use them to carry the Blues all the way to a State of Origin decider in Brisbane.

Gallen declared the first hit-up of Wednesday night's second State of Origin clash at ANZ Stadium his in a bold bid to lead from the front.

It is a game NSW must win if they are to avoid conceding a sixth straight series loss on home soil.

"I want to do it," Gallen said of taking the first run in Origin II.

"I remember playing for Wenty when I was seven, eight years old - training on a Wednesday night all I wanted to do was go home and see the first bloke get hammered off the kick-off.

"As long as I hold onto the ball I don't care."

The first tackle of an Origin contest is amongst the most brutal collisions in world sport.

Thrust into a front row badly beaten in game one, Gallen is desperate to show he fears no-one as he sets about the task of taking down Queensland starting pair Petero Civoniceva and Matt Scott.

Scott and Civoniceva are part of a pack Queensland coach Mal Meninga says is up there with the best to have ever pulled on a maroon jersey, and are a large part of the reason behind the recent Origin dominance.

"Matt Scott over the last 12 months has developed in the best front rower in the game and Petero's just a professional - he's been doing it forever," Gallen said.

"It's a huge challenge, I won't shy away from that, they are the benchmark."

Queensland coach Mal Meninga did his best to ensure a nervous night's sleep for NSW's inexperienced squad by declaring it was the home side who had everything to play for.

"I think all the pressure is on NSW, they have to win, the ball is in their court," Meninga said shortly after touching down in Sydney on Tuesday afternoon.

"They're thinking laterally, they believe the team they've picked is going to exploit our weaknesses.

"But they have to win, it's not like they can just go out there and play well.

"They have to go out and win this game and we're ready for that."

Asked if it was the Blues who were under pressure, Gallen agreed with the Maroons Origin legend.

"It probably is - it's a must-win game for us," he said.

"To a lot of us and certainly myself, it's a grand final.

"Everything's on the line tomorrow night."

NSW coach Ricky Stuart has made team bonding a focus during camps ahead of both games one and two, with former players and the involvement of families high on the agenda.

Many were on hand for the ritualistic jersey presentation earlier in the week, with Stuart hopeful that the togetherness of the group would hold them in good stead during crucial moments on Wednesday night.

"I don't think I've ever felt as close to a group of people so quickly before in my coaching career - there's a very, very strong commitment and bond to each other," Stuart said.

"That doesn't win you footy games though - we've got a football game to play, just because we're close doesn't mean we deserve to win.

"It's time to run into the warzone now - the result's everything."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news