Paul Gallen admits feeling humbled and a bit embarrassed to be equalling Danny Buderus as the most-capped NSW captain when he runs out in State of Origin II on Wednesday night.
Heading into representative retirement after the series, Gallen will run onto Suncorp Stadium for the final time in Origin when he leads the Blues in their must-win encounter in Brisbane.
Gallen said he was surprised by the warm welcome he received from the locals when the team arrived in Brisbane on Sunday evening.
“We got to the airport and I was surprised, half a dozen photos at least, probably more,” he said on Monday.
“Everyone said good luck and it was a bit unbelievable to be honest, I’ll go for a walk today and see how we go.”
And while he’s proud to match Buderus’ captaincy record, he has yet to equal the Newcastle legend’s two series wins under his leadership.
“I only found out about that this morning and that’s quite humbling and a little bit embarrassing when you compare myself to a legend like Danny Buderus,” Gallen said.
“I think he won at least three series.”
Buderus actually lifted the Origin shield on two occasions, in 2004-05, before calling it quits in the middle of the Maroons’ dynasty after the 2008 series.
Gallen will break the record in game three, in a match he hopes won’t be a dead rubber.
To do that, the Blues will have to overcome a horrible run in enemy territory, as well as an attacking deficiency that has limited the Blues to just under 11 points a game under coach Laurie Daley.
The 34-year-old said their mindset was simple.
“You’ve got to score more points than the opposition,” he said.
“We executed it fairly well game one and as we saw, we created opportunities but we just didn’t finish them off. We had a couple of knock down passes, disallowed tries, and some other ones that went begging.
“We need to fix that up. You don’t get that many opportunities at this level and when them opportunities arise, you need to take them and if we can take them in this game, then we can score more points.”
The Blues enjoy a day off on Monday before completing their captain’s run at Suncorp Stadium on Tuesday.
“It’ll be a pretty short and intense session tomorrow. We’ll really start to focus then and absolutely nail our role.
“If we go out and execute Laurie’s game plan, I think we can win,” Gallen said.