SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 10: Paul Gallen of the Sharks watches on from the bench during the round 14 NRL match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Wests Tigers at Southern Cross Group Stadium on June 10, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

He’s the only man in history to captain Cronulla to a premiership, but surely it’s time for Paul Gallen to hang up the boots at seasons end.

Gallen debuted for the Sharks back in 2001, amassing 315 games for Cronulla, with the 2016 NRL premiership the highlight. While he may be the oldest player in the competition, Gallen’s form has been above and beyond what you’d expect of the 36 year-old, proving why he’s the incumbent Dally M Lock of the Year.

But it’s time for the captain to walk away.

While Gallen has been excellent in recent times, re-signing the skipper will only halt the development of some of the fantastic back-rowers the club has coming through, and possibly even see players exit the club in search of a better opportunity.

While Luke Lewis is expected to retire at seasons end, Gallen’s exit will see a changing of the guard, with the likes of Kurt Capewell, Scott Sorensen and Jack Williams all fighting for a first-grade spot, with Jason Bukuya, Wade Graham and Joseph Paulo the obvious choices.

Having acquired Aaron Woods in the past week, the Sharks have identified a man who can come in and do a job just like Gallen, a metre-eating, no frills, offloading prop.

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Reports suggest Gallen wants at least one more season, but the New South Welshmen runs the risk of snaring the dreaded ‘one season too many’ tag, a phrase slapped onto Jonathan Thurston by Greg Alexander earlier this year.

The lock forward is also quickly zoning in on the NRL’s most unwanted record – the most losses in history. As it stands, Gallen is a mere nine losses short of equalling the record.

He also holds the record for most series losses as a State of Origin captain.

It’s been a fantastic career, spanning two decades, but it’s time for Paul Gallen to walk away at his peak, or risk tarnishing his record.

14 COMMENTS

  1. He’s not the “incumbent Dally M Lock of the Year”. You might not have heard of him but a player that goes by the name of Jason Taumalolo has that honour and will probably retain it again this year.

  2. You put your best team out on the field. If Gal is still part of that then who cares how old he is. I don’t hear anyone calling for Cam Smith to retire just so a young bloke can get a run, it’s up to the young bloke to train better and harder and take the old blokes spot.

  3. Even though Gal will soon be receiving his Seniors Card in the mail, he remains the Sharks MVP.
    My good buddy who works in admin at the Sharks tells me that Gal loves the money, so very much doubt he will voluntarily hang the boots up after 2018.

  4. Way overrated and always has been. Such a shame Melbourne couldn’t get the job done in 2016. I’ll remember him as origins biggest loser.

  5. Wish Gal would give up his media role – terrible commentary and has a face designed for radio!

  6. Great servant of the club and still churning out the meters week after week. That’s his job, love it or hate it. It is time for him to give it away at seasons end though but when he goes another great one-club man will be lost to the NRL. Thought he may have been better served by a switch to the front row last year but that won’t be happening now with Fafita, Prior & Woods to do the job. Sharks will be pretty well set for forwards moving ahead even if Gal and Lewis do hang up the boots. If they could just all be available at the one time the pack is probably one of the best in the comp. Time to concentrate on keeping Holmes and signing some quality center and wing talent.

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