Retiring NSW captain Paul Gallen has nominated his longtime nemesis Cameron Smith as the best player he has played with or against.
Gallen will play his last State of Origin match in game three at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday night having been on the end of another Queensland series win.
The majority of those series wins have been captained by Smith, a player who has repeatedly been able to get under Gallen’s skin at interstate level.
But Gallen recognises that is all part of football and says Smith is the greatest he has played against and alongside.
“Cam Smith’s the best player I’ve ever seen, ever played with or ever played against,” Gallen said.
“In all parts of the game, the way he controls the speed of the game, what he gets away with with referees.
“He’s just a special player, he’s the best player I’ve ever seen. A terrific leader.
“Johnathan Thurston is one of the best, he’ll be an immortal too but Cam Smith’s the best player I’ve ever seen.”
Despite Gallen’s lack of success in the Origin arena, Smith said he should be remembered as one of NSW’s best-ever players.
“I appreciate that from Cameron, it has been a real honour to play with him and against him over my career,” Gallen said.
“Hopefully he has an off night on Wednesday because he doesn’t have too many.
“I have done my best, o one can take that away from me, and it would be nice to have had a bit more success but that wasn’t to be.
“Wednesday night is about the next generation and about us getting the win to prove we can beat these blokes and they can go into next year with some confidence.”