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Cronulla's Gallen vows to clean up game
Cronulla captain Paul Gallen has vowed to clean up his game after fearing he'd lost his greatest honour in rugby league with his "grubby" attack on Anthony Laffranchi.
Gallen returns to face the Wests Tigers on Sunday after serving a three week suspension for deliberately raking at Laffranchi's head wound in the Sharks' loss to the Gold Coast.
His actions were caught on television and led to calls for Cronulla to strip the 26-year-old of the captaincy.
Gallen on Wednesday admitted he seriously feared the Sharks would remove his honour and approached the club powerbrokers to discuss the matter.
"I had a talk to the board and especially to Ricky and they expressed disappointment in me which is fair enough," he said.
"I did think that (would lose captaincy), especially after the game. The incident probably cost us the game and as a captain that's something you don't want to do and you should lead by example.
"When I was made captain it was probably the proudest moment of my career so far. I really want to keep it and do a good job for the team and club.
"If you have a bad day at the office you don't get sacked from your job.
"I'm happy to have the captaincy this year."
Gallen said while he has learnt his lesson from the incident, he won't be changing too much from his confrontational play.
"I'm just going to go out and do what I do. I got here in the position I am at the moment doing what I do so I can't be all bad," he said.
And he is adamant he has no personal vendetta with Laffranchi, knowing they are both genuine chances at playing for NSW in State of Origin this year.
"I know Laffranchi off the field and he is a top bloke and I definitely have nothing against him," said Gallen.
"The only thing I had against him that night was he was playing for the Titans.
"But you know, if someone else had a cut on their head I probably would have done it to any other player at the same time.
"He is a good bloke and I'm sure I will catch up with him again off the field."