Rugby: Gallen happy to be revenge target

By Steve Jancetic

NSW captain says if Queensland concentrate on him his teammates will just get on with winning the game

Paul Gallen lashes out at Nate Myles during the first State of Origin match this month. Photo / Getty Images
Paul Gallen lashes out at Nate Myles during the first State of Origin match this month. Photo / Getty Images

NSW skipper Paul Gallen has welcomed Queensland putting a target on his head in State of Origin II, the rugged prop believing the tactic will play into the Blues' hands.

Gallen ensured his "Public Enemy No 1" status after unleashing a flurry of punches on Maroons forward Nate Myles in the series opener, with Queensland baying for revenge at Suncorp Stadium tonight.

The Blues captain said he would happily take the extra attention, especially if it allowed his teammates to thrive.

"That's fine, if they want to target me I've got 16 other blokes behind me that are going to be right there with me," said Gallen yesterday.

"If they want to concentrate on me, there's a lot more strike power on the field than me.

"If they just want to worry about me, I'll be happy with that."

Certainly, Maroons fans are doing their best to make Gallen the centre of a hate campaign, with local radio station Nova producing a range of water bottles labelled "Paul Gallen Punch", together with the slogan "I'll let you go for Myles".

With his experience and incredible work rate, Gallen is the undisputed leader of the Blues pack - the back-rower turned prop always putting his hand up for the first hit-up of the game.

Gallen said it would be no different tonight when the Blues attempt to wrap up their first Origin series win since 2005.

"I'll be doing my best to play with a lot of energy and to get good line speed and some good touches early," Gallen said.

"Hopefully, the boys can feed off that.

"Like we did in game one, we feed off each other."

Meanwhile, club loyalties only stretch so far at Manly, it seems.

Queensland playmaker Daly Cherry-Evans has revelled in picking Andrew Johns' brain since the Immortal joined the Manly Sea Eagles NRL coaching staff full-time this year.

However, Cherry-Evans admits he hit a brick wall with Johns and even Manly coach Geoff Toovey - both former NSW halfbacks - when the topic switched to State of Origin.

"Even though they are my club coaches they are still Blues players, so they're politically aligned somewhere else - so no heads-up from them," he smiled.

Still, Cherry-Evans has received no shortage of advice ahead of his Origin debut in tonight's match.

"I've been very spoiled this year in the people I've got around me," he said.

"I've got Andrew Johns and Geoff Toovey at the Sea Eagles and now (Maroons halves) Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk (in the Queensland team).

"I hope to be smart enough to get everything I can out of those guys.

"They (Thurston and Cronk) gave me a big welcome and congratulations. All the team have done that.

"The support makes me feel comfortable and puts my mind at ease that they've got my back."

Queensland captain Cameron Smith said Cherry-Evans would add another dimension to their attack.

- AAP

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