Gallen sets Origin return date

Injured NSW skipper Paul Gallen admits he’ll be cutting it fine to prove his fitness to return for State of Origin game II in Melbourne.

Ruled out of game one in Sydney as he recovers from a hip injury, the Cronulla captain has targeted the round-13 clash with the Sydney Roosters for his comeback, giving him just one hitout before NSW coach Laurie Daley selects his team for the second game in Melbourne.

“I hope to be back for game two,” Gallen said on 2DayFM on Monday.

“The plan with Cronulla is I’ll be back in three weeks.

“I think it’s against the Sydney Roosters, which’ll be a couple of weeks for the next Origin game.”

Gallen hasn’t played since succumbing to a mysterious hip issue in Cronulla’s round-six win over Newcastle.

But now the 33-year-old said he is not far away from returning to full training.

“It’s at the stage now where I’m doing a lot of rehab running now,” he said.

“So it’s getting back to normal now, which is good. It’s starting to feel a lot better.

“It’s good to finally get past the bad side of it.

“The first five weeks I didn’t do anything. That was when I was doing a lot of sitting around.

“But now I’m starting to get back into it. Hopefully I’ll be full training in about two weeks and play in about 3-4 weeks.”

Gallen, who has played 19 games for the Blues, believes out-of-form halfback Trent Hodkinson is a certainty to be named in Daley’s line-up tomorrow.

However he isn’t so confident on the chances of incumbent five-eighth Josh Reynolds keeping his spot.

“Trent Hodkinson will be there, there’s no doubt about that,” he said.

“And maybe Mitchell Pearce, I don’t know for sure.

“Obviously it’ll be Josh Reynolds or him, one of the two.

“But I think Mitchell Pearce has been playing good enough the back end of last year and also this year.

“Poor Josh Reynolds has been up and down with suspension. They might go Pearcey.”

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