THE Maroons have an unlikely backer for the deciding game of the 2017 State of Origin series who is proud to call himself a Queenslander now his son is no longer turning out for the Sky Blues.
Garry Gallen, the father of former NSW skipper and 24 Origin veteran Paul Gallen, said he was “going for Queensland this year now that my boy’s not there”.
“I know it’s State of Origin but I live here,” the semi-retired Gallen senior said.
In fact the former plumber has been in Queensland for 11 years and now has sons living at Brightwater and Woombye and a daughter in Brisbane with only Paul and his sister Nicky still in Sydney.
“If only people knew how good Queensland was they would come here sooner,” Mr Gallen said.
And he has similar praise for the Maroons describing them as the best ever.
Mr Gallen is amazed at the lack of build up to the game and that tickets are still for sale for what he describes as “the most important game of the century”.
“They need Paul Gallen there,” he said. “If he was there they would have won the last one.
“Paul knows how to win.
“Queensland has the greatest side in rugby league history hands down. NSW should have kept its foot on the throat in Game Two but never did it.”
Mr Gallen dismissed claims NSW should have targeted an injured Johnathon Thurston last match saying that was not in the best interests of the game and that Queensland would anyway have found a way to hide him.
“They should have kept playing the way they were in the first game and the first half of game two,” he said.
But the keen observer of the game said the Game One result was a lot closer than it seemed with Queensland held up over the line on three occasions.
“If they scored those it would have been a lot closer,” he said showing his new allegiances forged in part by a lifestyle as close to the beach as you can get at Marcoola.
“I thought Kevvie would bring Sam Thaiday back. They’ve got a great spine but they’ve made nine changes for the series.”
Mr Gallen said Queensland blooded new players well giving them a taste of the action and slowly introducing them into bigger roles. He cited Dylan Napa’s Game Two performance as a benefit of the approach.
However he sees an old stager in Maroon half back Cooper Cronk, kept under wraps in the build up to what may be his last game for the state, as the potential surprise packet tonight.
“You won’t know until full time,” Mr Gallen said of the outcome.
“But it would be a travesty if NSW beat this great side.”