New South Wales captain Paul Gallen has declared himself a certain starter for Origin III next Wednesday night, and said there's no excuses for a bad performance no matter how much his ribs may be hurting.
Having missed both of Cronulla's games between Game Two and Three, Gallen said his ribs are more "uncomfortable" rather than painful and said no matter what he'll be the first Blue to run out onto Suncorp Stadium – though it may come at the cost of missing out on contact sessions for the entire build-up.
"[My ribs] definitely improved the first week a real lot and that's why I had ambitions to play on the weekend [for the Sharks] but it sort of just plateaued a bit which was frustrating. It's feeling okay though and I'm not in any doubt, I'll be on the field," Gallen said at the Blues' team announcement on Tuesday.
"I'll be able to train from day one but I'll stay out of contact for as long as I can. It's getting better but from what I've been told – I've never had a serious rib injury before – it's going to hang around for a long time so I'll just keep doing my best.
"It doesn't matter what per cent I'll be playing at. Once you get out on the field it doesn't matter if you're six per cent or 100, you have to do your job and there are no excuses once you get out there. If I'm on the field I'll be at 100 per cent."
Named among the same 17 who beat Queensland 26-18 two weeks ago, Gallen believes the team is well-equipped to take out the series against the Maroons – who have made two changes with Cooper Cronk and Josh Papalii drafted in for Daly-Cherry Evans and the injured Josh McGuire – in the sunshine state.
While it has been a decade since the Blues won a decider at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium, Gallen said his troops shouldn't be "daunted" by the passionate Queensland crowd.
"It's a massive task, sure, but this group of people have done it before. We did it Game One last year and we managed to wrap up the series in Game Two. While it's a great place to play at, we shouldn't go up feeling daunted or threatened," Gallen said.
"The Queenslanders are passionate and we all know the way they carry on so to beat them up there would be outstanding. It's a really good team environment and really good team atmosphere currently.
"We're in a good place. We just have to keep working hard. Obviously what happened in Game One and Two doesn't matter now – it's all about the decider."
Gallen added he didn't care much for what Queensland's reaction may be if the Blues were to utilise the suspension loophole for Michael Ennis and bring him into the side late.
Ennis will challenge his careless high shot on Matt Scott at the judiciary on Wednesday evening. The Sharks' rake is favourite to replace the injured Robbie Farah at hooker if he were to be ruled out despite Ryan Hinchcliffe and Josh Reynolds joining the camp on Tuesday.
"I'm sure they'll whinge and moan. They have very short memories, I'm sure they'll forget the TBA saga [from 2005 when Tonie Carroll was a late inclusion into the Maroons team] but as I've said all along I'm not concerned by them," Gallen said.
"The biggest issue is how long Mick can train with us. I don't know the rules behind that. Hooker is a pretty key position so we'll need someone – whoever is going to play on Wednesday – who can train at least a couple of sessions with us."
Video courtesy of nswrl.com.au