The National, Wednesday 5th June 2013
SYDENY: It’s been the most cordial State of Origin build-up in history, but NSW skipper Paul Gallen says he’s ready to take off the kid gloves and get stuck into Queensland tonight.
With Laurie Daley and Mal Meninga acting like two old mates in the golf club at Monday’s media conference, Gallen said he can’t wait for the rough and tumble at ANZ Stadium when the two old rivals meet for the 33rd series opener.
“It’s Origin football, the rules aren’t any different. But we all know they are,” Gallen said.
“The hatred’s always there, we know that, Laurie and Mal know that.”
Daley has opted not to provoke Meninga’s Maroons before the game, a tactic his predecessor Ricky Stuart used to relish throughout his most recent reign.
Gallen has no problem with his new coach’s approach, but admitted he liked the way Stuart used to needle the Maroons.
“The way that Laurie has wanted to do this build-up is that he doesn’t want to go over the top and that is fair enough.
“But I think it’s been great the last couple of years. It really brought the spice back into Origin and Ricky did that.”
Although his side have been on the wrong end of seven straight series defeats, Gallen said looking back to the past is a pointless exercise.
Gallen has only been on the winning side four times in his 14 Origin appearances but despite being constantly reminded that NSW have not won a series since 2005, it’s a stat he’s not concerned about.
“I am actually pretty relaxed about it,” Gallen said.
“There’s no point looking back, it’s happened, it changes nothing,” he said.