NEW South Wales captain Paul Gallen has given his all in 23 Sate of Origin games but is adamant his 24th and final one in Sydney next Wednesday night will be about his teammates, not him.
Over the next seven days, the Blues leader will think more about grooming young debutants Wade Graham and James Tedesco for future series than wanting to go out on an individual high.
“I don’t want it to be about me. It’s about these young guys coming through,” Gallen said.
“I was never after a swansong.
“I need to teach them (young Blues players) about Origin, I need to teach them how to get to a game fit and healthy.”
Gallen’s advice seemed to work for debutant Jack Bird in game two.
Although the Blues lost that game 26-16 and subsequently the series, Bird was highly impressive after coming on from the bench.
Gallen simply told him before the game: “Don’t worry about playing at Suncorp, you just play footy.”
The 34-year-old skipper’s absence in the Origin arena from next year is part of the Blues’ plan to bring in fresh young talent.
Matt Moylan, Dylan Walker, Adam Reynolds, Tyson Frizell and Bird have all received their first Origin caps in this year’s series, before the debuts of Graham and Tedesco next Wednesday night.
Gallen’s deputy and hooker Robbie Farah, 32, also might not wear a Blues jersey next year.
“Robbie may be here next year. If he’s not, that’s what the week’s about – me and Robbie teaching these blokes how to do it and teaching them how to get to Wednesday night with their minds on the job,” Gallen said.