Paul Gallen sees a NSW dynasty on the horizon just as he prepares to say goodbye to State of Origin.
As Queensland captain Cameron Smith praised him as one of the greatest ever Blues players despite being on the wrong end of 10 series wins from the Maroons in 11 seasons, Gallen is optimistic about NSW’s future.
Laurie Daley will blood his seventh and eighth debutants in James Tedesco and Wade Graham in Wednesday’s game three dead rubber.
Gallen believes that pair and the likes of potential future Blues Josh Jackson and Jake and Tom Trbojevic can finally help break Queensland’s stranglehold on interstate rugby league.
And when the Maroons golden generation that includes Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk and Greg Inglis move on, it will only make that task more achievable
“I think they can get on top of them over the next couple of years and hopefully have a dynasty of their own going forward,” Gallen said.
“I’ll be sitting in the stands cheering them on.”
Gallen’s Cronulla teammate Jack Bird is another player who could be instrumental for the Blues’ success for years to come as the Sharks skipper conceded victory on Wednesday night at ANZ Stadium was vital for NSW.
“Yeah, Jack Bird. Josh Jackson’s a terrific kid. These Trbojevic boys that have been in training, I can’t speak highly enough of them, they’re great young players as well,” Bird said.
“I was having a chat to Jacko the other day and I told him I can’t wait until this turns. I hope it turns in Wednesday night and gives us some confidence going forward.
“Queensland do have some good young players coming through but I think NSW have got the next good crop of Origin players coming through.”
Gallen has been a central figure on the other side of the ledger during Queensland’s current period of unprecedented dominance.
But Smith had nothing but praise for his opposite who has always ensured the Blues were highly competitive under his captaincy.
“You would have to go off his performance rather than his results. Every time I have played against him he has given his all and that is all anyone can ask from him,” Smith said.
“That’s why he has been able to keep that jumper for so long. There are plenty of young props and locks running around and he has kept them out. He would be right up there with some of the best forwards. He is a special player, no doubt.”