The biggest match of my life: Paul Gallen
NSW captain Paul Gallen has described tomorrow night's State of Origin series decider as the biggest match of his 12-year NRL career.
''I have played in some big games - obviously finals and the World Cup for Australia and Origin deciders - before, but this is up there as the biggest game at the moment,'' Gallen said. ''Hopefully there are some bigger ones to come but this week is a big week for me.''
For the record, the Cronulla skipper has represented Australia 22 times and will play his 14th match for the Blues in Origin III. Having made his Origin debut in 2006, Gallen is yet to play in a winning series but the 30-year-old Blues lock is confident that will change tomorrow night at Suncorp Stadium.
''We have prepared really well physically for this game, now we have just got to get our heads right on Wednesday night and go out there and execute whatever game plan we come up with. If we do that we will be hard to beat,'' Gallen said.
Despite Queensland having dominated the series for the past six years, each game just keeps getting bigger and Origin III is expected to be the most-watched league match ever.
The 2011 decider, which was also Darren Lockyer's last appearance for the Maroons, set an Origin ratings record but that was bettered when almost four million viewers tuned in to the opening game of this year's series - and Gallen predicted tomorrow night's match will be bigger still.
''I think every year Origin gets bigger no matter who is retiring, no matter what the occasion,'' Gallen said. ''That is the great thing about Origin. Every year it gets bigger and better, and more people are watching and more people are involved, so I would dare to say it is probably going to be the biggest game in history.''
After injuring his knee in the Sharks' round nine loss to South Sydney on May 7, there were fears Gallen would miss this year's Origin campaign - but he will go into the decider fully fit for the first time in the series.
While he has not been adversely effected by the injury, Gallen did little training with the team in the lead-up to Origin I and then aggravated the problem in the 18-10 loss to Queensland at Etihad Stadium.
He suffered a further knock to his knee midway through the first half of Origin II but said he had now fully recovered.
''Since last Monday I haven't missed a training session and I have been running four to five kilometres a session so hopefully the worst of it is behind me,'' Gallen said. ''By the time I play this Origin game it will be three or four weeks of recovery and rehab so I am hoping that I will be 100 per cent.''