Blues happy to win it for Gal
NSW coach Laurie Daley is relieved the Blues were able to win Paul Gallen's final Origin game, though both he and Gallen still rue a couple of missed opportunities that could have turned the series.
Speaking after his side's dramatic 18-14 win in which a long-range James Tedesco line break and late Michael Jennings try stole a victory in Wednesday's dead rubber, Daley was also relieved his team had been able to stay in a contest for 80 minutes rather than fade out at the end.
"I'm just happy the guys played for 80 as we've been talking about and I'm so happy for Gal to leave this arena as a winner. I said over the last couple of weeks he's a guy that's given his all for NSW," Daley said.
"We've had some tough times, some tough periods but he's always been the one leading us and I was just so happy for him and the boys tonight. It was a good game of footy and to beat a really good side the way we did right at the end. I can't remember the last time we would have won a game like that so it was pretty special."
Gallen was glad to be leaving the NSW team setup in a promising position moving forward but stressed there is still a fair way to go.
"Our effort this series was top class but unfortunately effort doesn't always get you a result. We were just so close those two games," Gallen said.
"To get the result tonight and play for 80 minutes and execute well, I'm just proud of the boys. There's a bit of relief I get to finish with a smile on my face but it's not what I wanted this year, we wanted to win the series but I suppose it's better than nothing. It's better than losing 3-0."
He said the week preparing for the dead rubber had had a huge focus on developing players for future series with the likes of Josh Jackson, Tyson Frizell, Wade Graham, Matt Moylan and James Tedesco all having debuted over the past two series and stepped up.
"It's just pleasing for the boys, this week was all about developing these young guys and making them understand what Origin is. We've done that throughout the whole series," Gallen said.
"We've blooded a lot of guys, eight debutants and something like 11 or 12 changes from last year. We needed to do that. Laurie's done it gradually over the last couple of years. This week the boys started to really understand what it's all about."
Gallen said he had taken a back seat over the opening two games but realised that hadn't helped the team get the results needed and stepped up his involvement in his final ever Origin camp.
"I really took a step back the first two games, I thought I'd let other blokes take over. I'm finishing up. I thought I'd take a step back. It didn't work obviously," he said.
"I thought all or nothing this camp. I did a lot of things I didn't do the first two camps, the boys got it, we played for 80 minutes and we got the win."
Gallen said while the future is bright, plenty of work was still needed.
"It's on the way. Probably not exactly where we'd want it but the makings are there. We've got a lot of young guys. Compared to Queensland, their side is going to be the way it is for another year, maybe two," he said.
"We're building, there's no doubt about that and we've got blokes who proved tonight are more than capable of getting the job done. If they play to their ability and play for 80 minutes they can get the win which is what we did tonight."