Blues squad gets Gallen's tick of approval
New South Wales skipper Paul Gallen has given his tick of approval to the 19-man squad named by coach Laurie Daley for Origin I.
Daley named five debutants in his squad on Monday – Adam Reynolds, Josh Mansour, Tyson Frizell, Matt Moylan and Dylan Walker – as he looks to erase memories of last year's horror 52-6 series-deciding defeat.
With somewhat of a changing of the guard taking place, the likes of Trent Hodkinson, Beau Scott, Ryan Hoffman and Trent Merrin were overlooked by NSW selectors despite playing key roles in the Blues' series win two years ago.
Gallen was adamant changes were needed after New South Wales' flogging in Game Three, 2015.
"It was a tough loss. There's no doubting that and we're not hiding from that fact. We were embarrassed up there. But there was always going to be changes. You can't be beaten by as many points as we did and not see some change," Gallen said.
"You see after every Origin loss there's one or two changes but obviously a loss that big was hard to take. You also have to remember Greg Bird never played last year (due to suspension) and he was always going to come back.
"It's a shame those guys aren't here because the majority of them played a part in the 2014 winning series. They're terrific guys and they were a great part of our team but as we stand here I'm very happy with the picked squad."
Gallen added his confidence in the squad, with the veteran 34-year-old of the opinion that every single one of the 19 picked are all in great form.
"I think the squad is great. When you look at all the guys that are here, everyone is in form and everyone is playing well. I don't think anyone has been picked on reputation or what they have done before," Gallen said.
"They are all playing good and they all deserve their spot. The forward pack is very powerful and we all have minutes in us so it's a very strong squad all round.
"When you look at the way Adam Reynolds is playing, you can't say that he doesn't deserve his spot."
Daley also weighed in on the players he had to overlook for Origin I and described it as the toughest part of his job, with Will Hopoate, Mitchell Pearce and Brett Morris (knee) not selected either.
"That's the difficult part of the job because you become so close to them that they are good mates, and they're good people. Whenever you're delivering bad news to good people, it always hurts more," Daley said.
"And we've had some terrific leaders in our team with Mez (Merrin), Beauy (Scott), Ryan Hoffman and Junior (Pearce). But they'll cop it on the chin and they'll know that they have to keep working hard."
Blues 19-man squad: Greg Bird, Boyd Cordner, Josh Dugan, Robbie Farah, Blake Ferguson, Andrew Fifita, Tyson Frizell, Paul Gallen (c), Josh Jackson, Michael Jennings, David Klemmer, James Maloney, Josh Mansour, Josh Morris, Matt Moylan, Adam Reynolds, James Tamou, Dylan Walker, Aaron Woods.
This video first featured at nswrl.com.au