The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
5 days ago - 2 Likes
Queensland may have resisted the temptation to publicly respond to NSW forward Paul Gallen's verbal assaults, but former Maroons captain Trevor Gillmeister has branded the Sharks' forward a "cheap-shot merchant".
While Gallen's war of words fell on deaf ears in the Queensland camp, 22-game Origin warhorse Gillmeister slammed the way he plays the game.
"Rival players don't think Paul Gallen is an intimidating player," Gillmeister said in his regular Sunday newspaper column.
"They think he is a cheap-shot merchant."
Gillmeister's crack at Gallen came as former NSW captain and coach Tom Raudonikis called on the Blues to find out if the Queenslanders, including forward enforcer Carl Webb, were really as intimidating as they made out in Wednesday night's series opener.
Gillmeister said one thing he'd learned as a player was never to be afraid of players who told everyone how tough they were.
"It's the ones who never tell people that you have to look out for," he said.
Gallen, suspended earlier this season for his over-aggressive play on NSW teammate Anthony Laffranchi, defended his style in an interview in a Sydney newspapers on Sunday.
"I'm two different people, one when I'm on the field, the other when I'm not," he said.
"I'm anything but a thug when I'm off the field. On the field I do whatever it takes to win and get the best results for my team.
"If people think that's thuggery, then that's their opinion."
Former Queensland prop Greg Dowling said Gillmeister's comments about Gallen would definitely "put a bit of spice" into things.
Dowling said Gillmeister and trainer Billy Johnstone would have the Maroons fired up.
"Don't worry about that, they're good guys to have in your corner," said Dowling, whose own comments have fired players up in the past.
"They played above their weight and they know what it takes.
"They'll get that passions flowing, we've already got it, and by tomorrow they'll be starting to feel the nerves.
"I doubt you'll see any all-in blues or any heads being taken off like you did in the `80s.
"It's too scrutinised now for that but I tell you what, you'll see some nice big hitting in the first 10 minutes which is why I don't think you'll see either side start as they were named."
Dowling is impressed with the look of the NSW forward pack under Bellamy.
"I'm not crowing as much as I have in the past because I think NSW have picked a decent pack," he said.
"They're very mobile and they've got a lot of minutes in them where our guys haven't.
"You don't have to be Einstein to see how they are going to come at us.
"In Origin you burn out in the first five minutes and you start looking for your second wind or a breather but now you have to go even longer with the amendment to the interchange rules.
"For once NSW has picked a form side for mine.
"You can see the changing of the guard with Ben Cross and Brett White in the pack.
"There's no more Nathan Hindmarsh or even Brent Kite.
"You can see they're going all out to try and roll us.
"That's why they picked those two front-rowers, they'll just charge onto the ball, they've got absolutely no fear.
"Then they've got (Willie) Mason, and (Anthony) Tupou and (Ryan) Hoffman, who's a brilliant runner on the edge of the ruck.
"I think it's going to be a ripper."