NSW skipper Paul Gallen says he will rule himself out of State of Origin game I if he’s not fit the weekend before coach Laurie Daley picks his team.
Gallen is racing the clock to be fit for the interstate series opener in Sydney on May 27, as he continues to battle a hip injury.
Daley will announce his team on Tuesday, May 19, following the NRL’s 10th round, and has said he won’t risk carrying an injured Gallen as the Blues chase back-to-back Origin titles for the first time since 2005.
The Cronulla captain, who was ruled out of action indefinitely last week, said he wouldn’t want to cause uncertainty in the Blues training camp as they prepare their series defence.
“I spoke to Laurie last week and just told him that I wouldn’t do anything to jeopardise the preparation of the team,” Gallen told 2KY’s Big Sports Breakfast on Tuesday.
“I don’t want to go to the camp and not train until the Saturday or the Sunday before the game.
“So I think if I’m not pretty good by probably the weekend before the team is picked, I think I’ll probably have to rule myself out.”
Daley has indicated he’s reluctant to make exceptions regarding injury but he’s likely to select Gallen even if he doesn’t play again before Origin – just so long as he passes fit.
“I don’t think Gal gets right up until game time, we will certainly give him right up until team selection,” he said.
“He is a guy that we will give him every opportunity to play.
“I think he will play, but it will be interesting to see how it goes.
“I think my first year in charge (2013) he was coming off an ankle injury, he missed something like five weeks, we selected him and he got man of the match.
“So he has done it before and if he has to he will do it again.”
Gallen said the injury – a tear in his gluteus maximus where it attaches to the iliotibial band – has been restricting his power and strength but would not require surgery.
“It’s just a thing that they (doctors) haven’t seen before,” he said.
“I’ve physically gone to see three different specialists and they’ve got another two that have checked the scans out to give their opinion.
“They can’t give me a time frame on it.”
In 2013, injuries to Gallen and Jarryd Hayne for the final Origin clash cruelled NSW’s chances of victory.
Gallen overcame an ankle injury to play in Origin I that year, and while Luke Lewis was named as man of the match in the Blues’ 14-6 win, Gallen too was instrumental.
The Cronulla skipper made 188m in 20 runs and notched 33 tackles in just 50 minutes.