RUGBY LEAGUE: New South Wales captain Paul Gallen has given rival skipper Cameron Smith the ultimate praise, but also taken a final parting shot at Queensland before his last Origin match at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday night.
Good mates away from the field, Gallen said Smith was the “best player I’ve ever seen”.
But he again made clear what his feelings towards anyone else from north of the border were.
It could have been Queensland prop Josh McGuire’s tweet after his side’s 26-16 win in Game II that got Gallen so riled up in his final pre-Origin press conference.
McGuire tweeted after that game – which sealed the Maroons’ 10th series win in the past 11 years – that winners have parties and losers have meetings.
Gallen insists there is no bad blood between he and McGuire, but he is keen to get into the ring with the powerful Broncos front-rower for a charity boxing bout at the end of the year.
“I’ll say one thing about Queenslanders – I think they’re bad winners, to be honest with you,” Gallen said.
“When you win 10 of 11 series or whatever you probably can afford to be.
“That’s not so much the players; I’m talking about the people up there in general.”
Gallen was glowing in his admiration for Smith though.
“He’s the best player I’ve ever seen,” Gallen said.
“In all parts of the game – the way he can control the speed of the game, the way he gets his way with the referees and he’s just a special player.
“He’s a terrific leader.”
Gallen said at the start of this series he took a back seat and encouraged other players to step up and show some leadership, with this being his final year in a sky-blue jersey.
But this week he’s been more vocal on the eve of his 24th Origin in an effort to leave the next generation of Blues players in good stead for 2017 and beyond.
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