NSW great Peter Sterling has called for Paul Gallen to be dropped for this year’s State of Origin series saying the Blues captain has fallen back in the pecking order for a spot in the pack.
The legendary Parramatta halfback said he couldn’t find a place for the Cronulla skipper in his best 17 for next month’s Origin series opener against Queensland at ANZ Stadium.
And while he said the 34-year-old was still in good form, he could not justify selecting him ahead of Canterbury’s David Klemmer and Sharks teammate Andrew Fifita.
Gallen, who has said the 2016 Origin series will be his last, is eyeing a swansong series win however Sterling feels there are too many players ahead of him.
Sterling, who has 13 Origins and 18 Tests to his credit, picked Aaron Woods and James Tamou as his starting props and Parramatta enforcer Beau Scott at lock, leaving no room for the Blues stalwart.
“I’ve gone with 11 players who were involved in that 56-6 loss last year,” Sterling said.
“The glaring omission is Paul Gallen, who was fantastic for Australia and is in really good form.
“But if I picked Gal I would have had to have left off either (David) Klemmer or (Andrew) Fifita and I didn’t want to do that.”
Peter Sterling’s NSW side: 1. Matt Moylan, 2. Josh Dugan, 3. Jack Bird, 4. Michael Jennings, 5. Blake Ferguson, 6. James Maloney, 7. Mitchell Pearce, 8. Aaron Woods, 9. Michael Ennis, 10. James Tamou, 11. Boyd Cordner, 12. Josh Jackson, 13. Beau Scott. Interchange: 14. Trent Merrin, 15. Bryce Cartwright, 16. David Klemmer, 17. Andrew Fifita.