He’s a cooking enthusiast and Sam Thaiday will happily bake Paul Gallen a farewell cake – if the pair are Australian teammates at the end of the year.
For now though Thaiday will hold back on any presents as he aims to spoil Gallen’s NSW State of Origin farewell.
The Blues are hoping the emotional boost of winning the series for their skipper can lift them to success over the Maroons in 2016.
It’s a spirit which played a large part in Queensland’s 2011 series victory as they sent captain Darren Lockyer out a winner.
Thaiday says the biggest challenge of that year’s campaign wasn’t getting too caught up in the narrative of Lockyer’s farewell.
“There always are challenges to make sure all your focus isn’t on just one player,” Thaiday said.
“The best way you can ever repay a player like that is by playing good footy and doing a job. I’m sure they’ll be all fired up to make sure they’re doing that.”
Thaiday is also wary of the Maroons putting too much emphasis on Gallen.
While minimising the Blues’ skipper is always crucial to denting NSW’s hopes, Thaiday says there’s plenty of other good players the Maroons need to halt as well.
“When he’s playing good, NSW are playing good,” Thaiday said.
“He’ll want to get his hands on the ball, be charging all night, be aggressive.
“We can’t just focus on one player ourselves. They’ve picked a really good team so we need to make sure we’ve got all bases covered and not just put all our focus into one person.
“He’s definitely an inspirational leader and one that leads by example.”