As NSW round out their earliest ever Origin preparations at a two-day camp in Sydney, Paul Gallen says he has earned the respect of Maroons fans the hard way.
As Paul Gallen prepares to be hated like never before by Queenslanders in the 100th ever State of Origin game, the NSW skipper says he has earned the respect of Maroons fans, the hard way.
Gallen is public enemy No.1 north of the Tweed River and his notoriety only increased in the Sunshine State after his pugilistic effort on Nate Myles in the opening Origin game last year.
NSW this weekend began their earliest ever State of Origin preparation with a two-day camp in Sydney, desperate to break Queensland’s eight year ownership of the interstate series, and Gallen said he had learned to deal with his arch villain status up north.
“I don’t want to be disliked, that’s not nice for anyone to hate you, but that’s who I have become, I suppose to them,” Gallen told AAP.
“And I think as much as they hate me there is some respect there. I do think they respect the way I play, it’s just that they hate me.
“Which is fair enough, that’s fine, that’s up to them. I’m not really concerned about the Queensland fans.”
In many ways Gallen has come to epitomise State of Origin football in the same way rugby league greats such as Arthur Beetson, Wally Lewis, Steve Mortimer and Blues coach Laurie Daley have before him.
With hype surrounding the 100th game sure to be greater than ever, Gallen said he is expecting a week of hostility in Queensland leading up to the opening game.
“People go on about the eight years and it is true we can’t change that it is in the history books.
“It is the best rivalry in Australian sport, it gets bigger and better and you can always expect a hostile environment right throughout the week, not only game day, but through the whole week.
“You get out on that ground it is so loud, you can’t hear anything … they are so passionate, I really enjoy playing up there, obviously so do Queensland but we are going up there to win.”