He’s the only player in history to feature in nine State of Origin series defeats, but NSW captain Paul Gallen will be content riding into the sunset with interstate bragging rights restored.
The team man in Gallen covets Blues glory above personal credits as he leads NSW into battle in the 2016 series opener against Queensland on Wednesday night.
Shattered by NSW’s 52-16 loss on in the 2015 series decider, Gallen has unfinished business to tend to in what shapes as almost certainly the 34-year-old’s Origin swan song.
“I want to leave them with the trophy, with the shield. I want to leave them on top. That’s my biggest goal,” Gallen told Fox Sports’ NRL 360 on the eve of Wednesday night’s series opener
“We took a lot of steps forward a couple of years ago and we probably really let ourselves down in game three last year and my goal is to get us back to where we should be and I think that’ll be enough.”
A 32-Test stalwart and 260-game, one-club legend for Cronulla, Gallen says he hasn’t thought too much about what Origin legacy he’d like to leave.
He’s just proud to have played – and made it – in rugby league’s toughest cauldron.
“I grew up loving Origin,” he said.
“I never loved the NRL or a specific team. I never really followed a team but whenever Origin was on I couldn’t wait to get home and watch State of Origin.
“So to be here playing it is a dream come true and I suppose I just want to be remembered as a player who always went out there and did his best, always did his best for the team and that’s always anyone can ever ask of you – and be remembered for that.”