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Paul Gallen running out for his final game.

Even explaining his side of the ASADA illegal supplements drama and subsequent player bans has not given closure to Sharks skipper Paul Gallen.

In his tell-all book 'Heart and Soul' published by Allen & Unwin and released this week, Gallen details his every thought and move around the events of 2011 when Stephen Dank was a short-term consultant at the club, and then August 2014 when he and 11 other players accepted back-dated one-year suspensions.  

The publishers actually told Gallen that plenty had already been written about those dark times, so if he wanted to leave it out of the book, they had his blessing. Gallen refused.

"As hard as it was I just wanted to tell my side of the story… the players and myself didn't go out to find something that was illegal," he said on Monday.

"No-one at the club faced the scrutiny I did as captain of the club. It was my face in the papers, on the news every night."

Paul Gallen poses with his family after his final NRL game.
Paul Gallen poses with his family after his final NRL game. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

But putting it all down on paper hasn't helped ease the pain of that time.

"There will never be closure ... never … ever. It was the hardest time ever," he said.

"What I saw the players go through ... we are extremely lucky that no-one harmed themselves. It was a terrible time for everyone.

"I don't have closure because people out there will always call me a drug cheat. So what I did with the game for that long, that's not nice. But it is what it is and I've faced the fact that I'm going to cop that.

"I knew it was going to come back up. It's unfortunate that a guy who played 19 years of first grade spends more time talking about a small period in 2011 than the rest of his career.

Sharks legend Paul Gallen launches his book.
Sharks legend Paul Gallen launches his book. ©Chris Lane

"It was a pretty good career, in particular winning the grand final.

"But what happened happened and I've admitted it and taken responsibility for it. I don't believe there was anything more I could have done to ensure that what I did wasn't illegal. I'm not a doctor or a biochemist."

As for other regrets in football, Gallen wishes he could have won more than one State of Origin series from the 11 series and 24 games he played.

"At least I got one," he said. "But there's been a couple of times I've thought back over my Origin career as captain where I went into games, and during games, with that [mentality] not to lose the game rather than trying to win it.

"There were a couple of occasions I took the two points rather than going for the try. I wonder what might have been if we had gone for that try.

"Then I think back to the side we played, and I don't care what anyone says, but it will be a long time before we see a team that good again."

In further praise from the former Brad Fittler Medal winner for that Queensland dynasty, from the seven players he nominates in the book as the best he played with, four are Queenslanders.

Paul Gallen's book Heart and Soul.
Paul Gallen's book Heart and Soul. ©Allen & Unwin/NRL Photos

And then there's the coaches Gallen sucked information from. He played under Craig Bellamy in three Origin series from 2008 to 2010, under Wayne Bennett in NRL All-Stars teams, and a Test under Mal Meninga, not to mention club, Test and Origin games under Ricky Stuart.

Alongside Stuart as one of his Cronulla coaches, Gallen loved his time with Chris Anderson, Stuart Raper, Shane Flanagan and his last season with John Morris.

"Being coached by Wayne Bennett was a real eye-opener and should be experienced," he said.

"Tim Sheens is probably the smartest coach I've been coached by … I was lucky to have one of the best in the business in Craig Bellamy for Origin.

"All my coaches had a great effect on me right down to Stuart Raper. John Lang gave me my opportunity (for an NRL debut), Chris Anderson taught me how to be tough, and obviously Ricky.

"He helped me immensely and gave me real belief.

"And Shane Flanagan. I can't speak highly enough of the man. He got the best out of me personally and as a player. I'm forever grateful for the time we spent together."


Heart and Soul by Paul Gallen (Allen & Unwin $34.99)

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