NSW have tired of the continued criticism levelled at retiring skipper Paul Gallen.
Blues great Peter Sterling was the latest to climb into Gallen last week, claiming he didn’t deserve selection for this year’s State of Origin series.
That followed upon fierce criticism from NSW’s best ever coach Phil Gould, who has continually claimed that the Cronulla captain is too old to play Origin.
Gallen’s long-time Blues teammate Greg Bird hit back at the griping against Gallen, who will finish his Origin career at the conclusion of this year’s interstate series.
“I know what he is like as a player and I know what he brings to our side that is so important,” Bird said.
“He is a player you want to play with and a bloke you want to play alongside because you know that he is going to give everything he has got for the team.
“People who have criticised him haven’t played alongside him.
“I always think he is the first picked for NSW.”
James Maloney has joined Gallen at the Sharks this NRL season and says he has nothing but admiration for his club and state skipper.
“I love playing with Gal, getting to know him and see what he does first hand at Cronulla, he is the first bloke I would pick,” Maloney said.
“He has been the cornerstone for NSW and Cronulla for some tough times.
“Knowing it is the last time for him I know there is some extra fire in the belly and he holds such a great respect with the boys it will give everyone else that extra motivation.”