Debate is raging about whether he deserves a State of Origin farewell, but Queensland are preparing for Paul Gallen to prove his worth in next week’s series finale.
The NSW skipper will play his last Origin in the dead rubber at ANZ Stadium, aiming to avoid a 16th loss to the Maroons in what will be his 24th appearance for the Blues.
Maroons champion Greg Inglis says criticism of Gallen in the wake of NSW’s game two loss in Brisbane has been unfair.
He says Queensland are fully expecting the 34-year-old to be on fire next Wednesday.
“He’s going to come out firing, without doubt,” Inglis said.
“He’s copped some unfair criticism over the last few weeks.
“He’s their leader and he does lead them very well.
“We know they’re going to be up for it and we’ve just got to go down and put a good Queensland performance in.”
The Maroons arrived on the Gold Coast on Wednesday to begin their preparations in earnest as they chase a series clean sweep.
Debutant Gavin Cooper is the only player yet to join the squad and is set to link with the team on Thursday after being in Townsville for the birth of his second child.
The 30-year-old will arrive in time for Thursday’s training session and Inglis said it was exciting the North Queensland backrower had been handed his chance as a replacement for injured Josh Papalii.
“It’s a credit to him and what he’s done for North Queensland as well,” Inglis said.
Veteran forward Nate Myles is also expected to train on Thursday as he continues to try to prove his fitness.
The 31-year-old missed game two with a knee injury and hasn’t played a match since Manly’s NRL loss to Penrith on June 12.
Inglis believes Myles will be fit to take part in what will be his 31st Origin.
“It’s great to have Nate back. He’s been an important member of this squad,” he said.