I'll boo DCE too: Gallen
The Origin II build-up has begun, with shots being fired by usual suspect Paul Gallen at the New South Wales team announcement on Tuesday morning.
It has been just over a year since Gallen labelled Queenslanders 'two-heads', earning the ire of the sunshine state's locals and rugby league legends alike, but it didn't stop him from producing a unique answer to the Maroons' matters of concern leading into Origin II.
Asked about Queensland halfback Cooper Cronk's absence and replacement Daly Cherry-Evans – who last week sensationally backflipped on the Titans to sign an unprecedented lifetime deal with the Sea Eagles – Gallen said he'll join in with the chorus of disdain towards the 26-year-old.
"I'll boo him too," Gallen laughed. "Their concern has nothing to do with me, they can look after themselves."
Always good for a jab or two towards his opponents off the field – to add to Cherry-Evans's woes after he was booed every time he touched the ball during Manly's 44-10 loss to the Broncos last Friday – Gallen's appreciation of the rivalry between the two states was further extended as he sat on the sideline injured with a gluteus maximus tear during Origin I.
Put simply, it's made him even hungrier to rip into the Maroons.
"I realised how important Origin is to NSW and Queensland basically, when I sat in the stands for Game One," Gallen said.
"I walked through the crowd to get to the stadium, did some corporate events. It's so big. It's the biggest sporting event in Australia, I believe.
"I realised how important it is, and to miss it was pretty tough. But to be back, I'm really pleased."
Making his return for Cronulla after an eight-week absence last Sunday, Gallen said he pulled up fine after putting forward a dominant 247-metre, 37-tackle display against the Roosters.
Yet Gallen doesn't think he will be solely responsible for reversing the one-point Origin I loss, realising instead that his familiarity with the Origin arena as the most experienced Blue (19 Origins) was invaluable to NSW's relatively young forward pack.
"I don't think I'll be kicking field goals that's for sure. I just have to go out there and do my job. My job's simple. I've got to go forward, play the ball quick, and get through my defence," Gallen said.
"If I can do that to best of my ability, and so can everyone else, then we'll get the win. The boys really tried hard [in Origin I], the effort was absolutely outstanding. We've just got to be a bit smarter at crucial points."
"I just want to get into camp, help lead the boys and get involved in the game plan as well as in the values of the side."