Record-matching Gallen desperate for victory
New South Wales skipper Paul Gallen says that respect will go out the window on Wednesday night as he and his Blues teammates prepare to do anything they can to level this year's Origin series.
Game Two at Suncorp Stadium is set to be a fiery affair, with New South Wales staring down the barrel of a 10th Origin series loss in 11 years.
Gallen is desperate to go out of the Origin arena as a winner, with the 34-year-old preparing for his last two games in charge of the Blues before he retires from Origin football at the end of the series.
He says that although he has great respect for Queensland captain Cameron Smith, it will count for nothing come Wednesday night.
"You could name Smith or [Johnathan] Thurston as an Immortal today and no one would argue with it," Gallen said.
"They are great players, but my main concern is to beat them on Wednesday night.
"Smith and I have mutual respect. I know what he can do. Last year I texted him when he went through all that other stuff with Alex McKinnon. I thought it was unfair what happened to 'Smithy'.
"There's no doubt that we have respect for each other but when we get on the field we just do what we have to. There's respect there, but we have a job to do."
If Queensland win it will be once again job done for a Maroons juggernaut that doesn't look like slowing down.
But Gallen will be desperate to keep the series alive on a night where he will equal Danny Buderus's record as the most-capped New South Wales captain.
It will be Gallen's 15th game as captain and he says he doesn't see himself on the same level of Buderus.
"I only found out recently about equalling the record and that's quite humbling and a little bit embarrassing when you compare myself to a legend like Danny Buderus," he said.
"I think he won at least three series."
Gallen's estimates are close, but Buderus only lifted the Origin shield on two occasions, in 2004 and 2005, before calling it quits in the middle of the Maroons' dynasty after the 2008 series.
Gallen may only have one series win as captain, but his opposite was quick to praise the Sharks forward.
"There are always going to be people who say negative things about your career and Gal's probably going to have a couple of those people - but for mine, I think he's been a wonderful player for New South Wales for a long time," Smith said.
"I've played alongside him for the Australian team and I feel very lucky to play alongside a guy like that and very fortunate to have a person like that in my football side.
"He's been a wonderful player for a long time, he does a lot of the hard work that probably gets overshadowed by things that other players do but if you don't have Paul Gallen in your side you usually struggle to win matches.
"That's the way I'll be looking back on his Origin career."