NRL: Gallen foot injury gives Cordner a shot

Boyd Cordner. Photo / Getty Images
Boyd Cordner. Photo / Getty Images

Youngster Boyd Cordner is in line for a State of Origin baptism of fire after NSW's plans for the series decider were thrown into disarray by the loss of skipper Paul Gallen.

The Sydney Roosters back-rower, who turned 21 only on June 9, has been training with the Blues team all week after being included in an extended squad by coach Laurie Daley for tomorrow and he's now a strong chance to debut.

Daley held a two-hour conference call meeting yesterday with chief selector Bob Fulton and the NSWRL board after Gallen was ruled out of Wednesday's deciding game 3 by his foot injury from Origin II.

The meeting ratified hooker Robbie Farah as the new captain for the ANZ Stadium match but the biggest discussion point was the make-up of the bench as the Blues try to secure their first series in eight years without their talismanic skipper.

Canterbury five-eighth Josh Reynolds looks likely to drop off the bench in favour of another forward to cover for the loss of Gallen, whose starting front-row spot goes to Wests Tigers prop Aaron Woods.

Like Cordner, game two debutant Woods was initially included in the extended squad as a precautionary measure, but with Gallen capable of playing long minutes there is a strong case for disposing of the utility bench spot occupied by Reynolds, who got little playing time in the first two games.

Daley said he had not yet decided the make-up of his bench, but he must make a decision on Reynolds before tomorrow, with the Bulldogs keen to have him available for their big NRL game against Melbourne at ANZ Stadium.

Gallen was forced to admit defeat in his quest to overcome damage to the plantar fascia tissue in his left foot after running for the first time in training on Friday morning.

Although he was able to run, he was experiencing soreness around the area and team doctor Nathan Gibbs persuaded him it he should not risk further damage by playing in the game.

Daley admitted he was always confident his skipper would be able to fully train on Sunday in an opposed session and then lead the team out at ANZ Stadium next week.

However, he got news he didn't want from his captain before training when Gallen admitted for the first time he may not be right to play.

"I thought he may have been right due to the indications he was giving me," Daley said.

"But I had some doubt about 10 to eight this morning when he came and saw me and said he wasn't real confident in his leg.

"So I said 'go for a run and see where you're at and it might be able to put your mind at ease'.

"But it wasn't real great and he could feel it."

"There was no point prolonging the agony so we decided together it was in the best interest of the team we needed to push forward."

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