Gallen warns: I'm not done with Queensland
He has broken Queensland hearts three times in the past month but Sharks and New South Wales skipper Paul Gallen has vowed to add to the Sunshine State's misery with a win in Game Three of the State of Origin Series.
Leading the embattled Sharks onto Suncorp Stadium last night, Gallen did everything possible to lift his side back into the match but at 22-0 down with 26 minutes left to play it seemed more a question of when the point-scoring drought would break, not whether they could win or not.
But a try to rookie Jacob Gagan in the 54th minute sparked a try-scoring frenzy for the visitors who crossed three times in the space of 10 minutes and then hit the front for the first time in the game with a try to Sosaia Feki with six minutes remaining.
It left the Broncos-dominated crowd of 24,285 in stunned silence, the second time a side led by Gallen has walked away from 'The Cauldron' in triumph in the past month following the Blues' 12-8 win in Origin I.
Considered enemy No.1 north of the border, Gallen managed to win over at least one member of the partisan crowd with the Sharks' stirring comeback but hopes to pile on the pain again when he returns for Game Three on July 9.
"It's quite funny. I was going to [the north-east] corner and they were absolutely tearing into me and every time I kept going back there [after a try] it got a little bit quieter every time," Gallen said after his side's first win since Round 8 and their third successive victory against the Broncos at Suncorp.
"The final time I went back there the bloke just smiled and went like that (giving the thumbs up signal).
"It makes for good theatre. I know they don't like me but it's good for the game and it's good for them to come here and spend their money and do that, but it's even better for me to win.
"Back up here in a couple of weeks and will feel a whole lot better beating them again, too."
With the Maroons again facing a number of selection headaches and with nothing to play for but pride, the NSW skipper backed the claims of Broncos forward Josh McGuire to earn an Origin recall.
McGuire was again superb for Brisbane on Friday night starting from the very first hit-up of the game.
His charge at the Sharks defence in the 35th minute gave Ben Hunt the time and space needed to create a try for David Hala and the rugged front-rower went into half-time with 95 running metres and 26 tackles against his name.
He finished the game with 157m and 52 tackles and the endorsement of Gallen that he is ready for Origin selection.
"He's always been a good player, Josh. I've always liked him," Gallen said. "I remember talking to him a couple of years ago and had a word to him and told him I thought he was a good player, he's a quality player.
"You could certainly tell that he lifted the tempo tonight, probably playing for an Origin spot with one or two of their front-rowers injured, he's a good player."