Paul Gallen has unleashed at Cronulla fans who questioned his commitment to the club after it was confirmed he would miss the next month of the season with a knee injury.
Gallen underwent surgery on Monday night and is expected to return to the NRL by round eight, a month before State of Origin selection.
The news drew the ire of some Sharks fans, who took to social media to highlight the amount of games Gallen has missed for the club in the past four years, despite regularly being available for NSW.
“It’s the most disrespectful thing to come from Sharks fans,” he told the Big Sports Breakfast.
“I understand there are people that love or hate me in my career, other fans, and they would do anything to have a little crack at me.
“But when it comes to Sharks fans I actually hate it.”
Gallen has missed 42 games for the Sharks since the beginning of 2012, but only skipped two Origin matches for NSW in the same period of time.
His Origin availability was reportedly the reason his contract negotiations with Cronulla dragged on last year, with Sharks coach Shane Flanagan admitting he would try to convince Gallen to end his NSW career to focus on club footy.
Gallen and the Sharks eventually agreed to a one-year extension in 2016.
Despite the NRL matches he has missed, Gallen is still the second-most capped Sharks player of all time behind Andrew Ettingshausen, having played 260 games since he made his NRL debut there in 2001.
“There has only been an outside back who started his career on the wing and played in the centres his whole career who has played more games than me for that club,” Gallen said.
“So to put up with things like that I find it terrible.
“No one has ever said it to my face, let’s put it that way.”
Gallen also admitted he feared his career may have been over when he initially suffered the knee injury in Saturday night’s loss to North Queensland.