Outgoing NSW skipper Paul Gallen says he’s ready to end his State of Origin career, but is not going to buckle under pressure and stand down from game three.
Gallen is facing calls to step aside from the July 13 match at ANZ Stadium following the Blues’ series-losing defeat in Origin II.
He admits the criticism, including from former coach Phil Gould who labelled the NSW leadership group as selfish, had muted the emotion around his 24th and final Origin appearance.
“There’s been a lot of pressure the past couple of weeks, and it’s sort of … taken the focus off that,” he told the Nine Network’s Sunday Footy Show.
“I’m ready for it to be finished.
“I’m happy to be finishing up.”
Gallen revealed he had spoken to Blues senior management about whether they still wanted him to play.
“They said to me `just be careful, if you’re ging to pull out, what’s the reason? Is it convenience so you don’t cop the criticism or is it because you don’t think you’re good enough any more?’
“They all said they think there’s a role for me to play there so I won’t be standing down and fingers crossed I get picked.”
Gallen was at a loss to explain why NSW continued to be on the back foot against Queensland, unsure whether ringing in more changes was the answer.
He said the likes of Jack Bird, Tyson Frizell, Bryce Cartwright and James Tedesco could carry the Blues into the future, but noted there was no obvious successor to hooker Robbie Farah.
He believes James Maloney remains the in-form playmaker of the competition, while injured Queensland superstar Billy Slater claims Mitchell Pearce is the best option for NSW in the halves.