NSW captain Paul Gallen revealed even his close mates doubted his ability to inspire the Blues’ drought breaking State of Origin series win in 2014.
Even close friends questioned NSW skipper Paul Gallen’s ability to lead the Blues to victory before the 2014 State of Origin series.
But Gallen hopes he and coach Laurie Daley have converted the Blues into true believers despite being denied their first Origin sweep in 14 years by Queensland’s 32-8 game three win on Wednesday night.
The Blues will be swamped by supporters when they hold aloft the Origin trophy at a special welcome home ceremony at the Sydney Opera House hosted by NSW Premier Mike Baird on Thursday.
But Gallen revealed it was not that long ago when even his mates failed to rally around him after Queensland romped to eight straight series wins.
“Speaking to friends they were asking ‘how are you going to beat them?’,” Gallen said.
“We were the biggest outsiders in Origin history, but we achieved our goal.”
Gallen was dubbed “one of the greatest forwards” by Daley after collecting the Wally Lewis Medal as player of the series before triumphantly hoisting the Origin trophy post-match at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.
But Gallen denied he had been the inspiration to their drought-breaking 2-1 series win.
“As a captain you’re an extension of your coach,” he said.
“I spoke to Laurie last year and his passion for the Blues jumper and what he wanted to achieve was unbelievable.
“He spoke with such passion and to win it for him and the boys, and for the five million people in NSW, I’m so so proud to lead that and it’s a great feeling.”
Daley hoped Gallen’s inspiration had helped convince the Blues they finally had the once-all-conquering Queensland’s Origin measure.
“The boys love playing with him, they love him as their leader, they will do anything for him and he is certainly one of our greatest ever forwards,” Daley said of Gallen, who notched 137m and 34 tackles in game three.
“The amount of work that he gets through and the amount of effort he pushes his body through, it would be hard to find anyone better.”
Asked about building a NSW dynasty, Daley said: “To have success you need people to buy into your vision and the people that buy into your vision have to be your leaders because other players follow them.
“For me, to have Gal believing in where we wanted to go and what we wanted to do, that drags other people along so they understand the expectations that have been set.
“I’m two years in, but this year we’ve made some different changes and I know we’ll be better and I know we will still have some tough times along the road, but I know when my time is up and when Gal’s time is up we’ll be in a good place.”