NSW coach Laurie Daley has guaranteed Paul Gallen a State of Origin farewell, despite increasing calls for the Blues’ skipper to be moved on for next month’s game three.
With Gallen presiding over another Origin series defeat for the Blues on Wednesday night, calls have come thick and fast from the likes of Phil Gould, Steve Mortimer and Mark Geyer for the Cronulla skipper to make way for younger players.
But a defiant Daley said on Thursday afternoon that the retiring Gallen would be play his final Origin game in the dead rubber on July 13 in Sydney.
“If Gal is fit, he will be there,” Daley said after the Blues landed at Sydney Airport.
“There is no such thing as a dead rubber in Origin and we will be out there to win.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion but Gal has been a great leader for us and he will be there.”
Gallen wasn’t keen to discuss the issue.
“I’m not going to talk, not at the moment,” he told AAP.
Gallen, however, had previously indicated he would play in game three even if it was a dead rubber. The Cronulla skipper could step down from his post with the Blues to concentrate on the Sharks’ premiership aspirations but he appears determined to play one last Origin game.
And there are suggestions the NSWRL is already planning a farewell for Gallen, with thousands of face masks of the Blues’ veteran to be made available at ANZ Stadium for his final game.
However, Daley did concede several NSW players would likely play their final game in Origin III.
That could include Robbie Farah, Greg Bird and Michael Jennings.
“There will probably be a few at the end of this season that will move on,” Daley said.
Daley has not ruled out making some changes to his vanquished side to blood young players such as James Tedesco and Bryce Cartwright.
“We have brought in nine new players over the past two years and, whether we introduce a few more, we will decide that over the next week or so,” Daley said.
The former Origin great also said he was determined to continue as coach despite his third loss in four series and that Adam Reynolds could play in game three despite suffering a shoulder injury in Wednesday night’s 26-16 defeat at Suncorp Stadium.