Gallen hoping for Kangaroos call-up
Sharks skipper Paul Gallen turned back the clock with a best-on-ground performance to help guide his side to a pulsating 20-18 Telstra Premiership win over the Panthers on Sunday afternoon.
The Cronulla lock produced his best game of the year with season highs in metres (246), hit-ups (21) and tackles (43) in an effort that sent a timely reminder to Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga before the Test side is picked later in the week.
Gallen has been a mainstay in the national side playing 31 games between 2008-2014, but was overlooked for last year's Anzac Test.
The 34-year-old NSW captain says he would love to return to the international stage for the May 6 clash in Newcastle and knows the only way that will happen is if he produces the type of football he did against the Panthers.
"I want to play for Australia, there's no doubt about that. All I can do is do what I'm doing for Cronulla, and if I get picked then I get picked," Gallen said after the game.
"I've never hidden the fact that it was a goal of mine to get my Test jumper back. I made it my own for the best part of eight years. I've always cherished playing for Australia and I've always put my best foot forward when I've played there.
"I've just got to go out there and put my best foot forward and play the best footy I can for my team and that's what I did today. Whatever happens is going to happen and I can't change anything now."
Sharks coach Shane Flanagan credited his on-field leader for helping get his side home against a dogged Penrith side that wouldn't go away at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
"He was one of our best players out there tonight. He simplified his game. There were no errors, no missed tackles and it was an outstanding effort today," the Sharks coach said.
Flanagan jokingly added: "He might have had one or two…maybe one missed tackle but he was outstanding."
While Gallen said he "could have done with one (a breather)" the Sharks skipper instead punched out 80 minutes for the first time in 2016 in a Herculean display that belied his maturing body.
Flanagan would have loved to have given his skipper a rest as he has done in the four previous matches this season, but said he needed Gallen to stay out there with the game on the line.
"He didn’t have a spell. He played the full 80 minutes," Flanagan said.
"I would have loved to have given him one as well but I needed him out there because the quality of player he is."