His teammates want to send him out of State of Origin as a winner but Paul Gallen heads toward game three as the NSW player to have lost the most games to Queensland.
The 26-16 loss to the Maroons at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night was rep retirement-bound Gallen’s 15th defeat in his 23 Origin games since his 2006 debut.
Queensland’s Mal Meninga has the most defeats by a single player in Origin, with 17 losses from 32 games but no Blue has tasted defeat as many times as Gallen.
The next highest is Brad Fittler, who suffered 14 losses but had a very different overall record, also playing in 17 wins.
Gallen has only won eight matches in Origin, and 2014 was his sole series win.
Debate is already raging south of the Tweed about whether longtime skipper Gallen deserves to have a 24th and final Origin appearance in game three or if NSW selectors should use the dead rubber to blood a new face in preparation for next year’s campaign.
Blues forward Andrew Fifita – a teammate of Gallen’s at Origin level and in the NRL at Cronulla – says the 34-year-old deserves a final victory after his decade of service to his state.
“I’d love to be a part of that moment, just walking Gal off the field,” Fifita said.
“He’s been there for me for a very long time now, since 2012 when I went to the Sharks, been a big influence on my life.
“Just to walk him off that field knowing he’s done his job and we’ve done the state proud, that’s just that one moment I’d like to be there for.”
GAL’S UNWANTED HISTORY – Most losses by a player in State of Origin history
17 – Mal Meninga (Qld, 32 games)
16 – Allan Langer (Qld, 34 games)
15 – Paul Gallen (NSW, 23 games), Darren Lockyer (Qld, 36 games), Dale Shearer (Qld, 26 games)
14 – Brad Fittler (NSW, 31 games), Cameron Smith (Qld, 38 games)