Captain Paul Gallen’s return to the NSW side for State of Origin II is giving the Blues a huge lift.
His presence back in the Blues camp at Coff Harbour instils added confidence and teammates expect his role in Wednesday’s clash with Queensland at the MCG to be just as inflential.
With Gallen back from injury to patrol the middle third of the field and star winger Brett Morris coming back onto the Blues wing, the defending Origin champions suddenly have a steelier look about them.
Prop Aaron Woods believes Gallen’s presence and massive workrate make NSW a more formidable outfit.
“He (Gallen) just loves the contact he does. It take a few numbers to get him down so that will change things for us,” Woods told AAP.
“Obviously he is the leader of our pack so to have him back is unreal. I know how hard he has worked to get back.
“He trained with us one day in camp before Game I and you could see how disappointed he was to miss that game.
“He has been around for so long and just wants to win I am so happy for him that he is back, we all are.”
After Woods and his starting prop James Tamou starred in Game I, Gallen slots into the NSW back-row alongside Beau Scott, and Ryan Hoffman.
“He is such an important part of our team,” Hoffman said.
“He does so much for us in both attack and defence, allowing us around him to concentrate on our own jobs.
“We missed that in Game I, so it is so good to have him back because he does add an edge to our side.”