Smith salutes Gallen milestone

There will be no prizes for guessing who will be public enemy No.1 at Wednesday night’s State of Origin II in Brisbane.

Accusing Queenslanders of having “two heads” can have that effect.

But NSW captain Paul Gallen is guaranteed at least one Queensland fan at Suncorp Stadium – Maroons skipper Cameron Smith.

The Queensland leader spoke with genuine admiration for his long-time Test teammate before the Blues forward’s milestone Origin game where he will equal Danny Buderus’ record of 15 games as captain.

“I think he has been a wonderful player for NSW for a long time,” Smith said ahead of Gallen’s 23rd Origin appearance

“I have played alongside him in the Australian team and I feel very lucky to have played alongside a guy like that.

“He does the hard work that probably gets overshadowed by things that other players do but if you don’t have Paul Gallen in your side you usually struggle to win matches.

“That’s the way I will be looking back at his career.”

Smith admitted he may be in the minority on Wednesday night when Gallen ran out onto Suncorp Stadium for the final time as a NSW player.

Gallen is playing his final Origin series.

“I expect a little bit of curry from the crowd when he runs out,” Smith laughed.

“He’s had a running battle with Queensland crowds for some time now.

“There’s always going to be people saying negative things about your career – Gal’s probably going to have a couple of those people.

“But he’s been a great player for a long time.

“He’s not going to stop until the final whistle no matter where the game is at.

“He has been a great leader for their team.”

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