NSW skipper Paul Gallen says former Blues captain Steve Mortimer was a huge inspiration behind his side’s drought-breaking series win over Queensland.
Victorious NSW skipper Paul Gallen paid tribute to the Blues’ first ever winning captain Steve Mortimer after finally leading his side to victory over Queensland.
Gallen, who made his State of Origin debut in 2006, had never tasted a series win over the Maroons until Wednesday and had been skipper of a losing side since 2011.
But he revealed after the game a deep discussion with Mortimer, who led NSW to victory for the first time in 1985, at an Origin launch in Queensland earlier this year gave him the belief that this could finally be the Blues’ year.
“Steve Mortimer has been a real supporter of mine,” Gallen said.
“When you hear him talk to the media about what it means to win a series he is really sincere – it almost brings you to tears.
“He came up when we did a thing to launch Origin in Queensland this year and had a really good talk to me and I am really pleased to win it for him.
“He’s been really good to me.”
A crowd of 83,421 packed into ANZ Stadium – an Origin record – and Gallen said the sight of children walking to the game who had never seen the Blues win a series rammed home the importance of ending the drought.
“We were catching the bus and going down the road and I saw these kids and they were nine or 10 years old and with their dad,” he said.
“I thought to myself ‘wouldn’t it be good for them to see us win.’
“When you see kids who have never seen us win, to still turn up and support us. It means such a lot to me.”
Gallen clocked up 187 metres from the front row and was named man of the match and coach Laurie Daley was full of praise for his captain.
“The skipper was awesome, I can’t praise him enough,” Daley said.
“He led from the front and leads this team so well. He’s a credit to the state.”