SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 02: Paul Gallen of the Sharks celebrates winning the 2016 NRL Grand Final match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Melbourne Storm at ANZ Stadium on October 2, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Gallen’s 300th the culmination of the modern era’s best forward


The Peptide is turning. Up! Up! Peptide reference. As a rugby league fan, I’ve heard them all, so save it.

In my opinion, this Friday Night we will witness the 300th game of the man who should, rightfully, be known as the modern era’s best forward in Cronulla Sharks captain Paul Gallen.

Shane Flanagan recently suggested that Gallen could now be considered the greatest ever Shark in the club’s 50-year history. Although the likes of Steve Rogers and ET may have a big say in that claim, Gallen is without any shadow of the doubt the best forward in the club’s history.

By standing on the podium this past October 2nd and stating “turn your porch lights off because we’re coming home with the trophy” Paul Gallen became a Sharks immortal, and no alleged sports scientist’s mistakes can take away from that.

Only long suffering Sharks fans will remember that this is a man who almost literally carried the club on his own back for many years.

In times where stars were jumping ship at every opportunity, Gallen turned down a chance to walk into a premiership ready Manly side, only to re-sign with a club who by all rights would be lucky to still exist into the near future.

This is the man who single-handedly led NSW to Origin victories against the greatest rep footy side of all time, despite the fact his side often played sans a rep halfback.

Anybody remember the perfect 10 he received from RLW for yet another Origin master class or just the four weeks he sat out due to putting trust in someone who should have known better?

The Blues may very well have won another series in 2017 had Gallen not retired from rep footy to focus on leading his beloved Sharks to back to back Premiership titles.

All the talk pre series was about Mitchell Pearce’s evolution, but the talk should have been about who could dig in and make those hard yards when all looked lost like Gallen did each and every time he pulled on the sky blue jersey.

Turns out no one could as Queensland’s rookie forward pack did the job and laid the platform for Cooper Cronk to continue to press his immortal claims.

Paul Gallen, at almost 36 year’s old, is still leading the competition’s hit up tally. Insert smart ass peptide joke here if you want, but you know what that shows? Heart!

I can’t name one player who would turn down a shot for well-paid premiership glory rather than grind it out in a seemingly hopeless situation just to show faith in his club?

A certain Wests Tigers captain sure didn’t show Paul Gallen-esque loyalty and belief in his recent decision to defect.

A certain Eels number seven has been quoted in major papers as being happier and playing better footy after leaving a tough situation for greener pastures.

Meanwhile, it is Paul Gallen who is pictured holding the game’s most sought after trophy, ending his club’s premiership drought, that has been burned into the memories of all who saw that moment. Not to mention the statue that will be built outside Shark Park following the great man’s retirement, IF he ever does retire.

So once again, I almost dare you to recycle the tired and worn out peptide jokes that saw the Sharks rise all the way to 15th place, but I challenge anyone, on footballing merit, to name one forward in the modern era who has done it tougher, yet produced more, than Sir Paul Gallen.


13 COMMENTS

  1. You said it yourself, Gallen is a drug cheat. Also a selfish player and arrogant disrespectful player. Also lost 10 out of 11 series for nsw. He is no great player.

  2. You have to give it to Paul that he certainly has been a Gallent (LOL) player and a Sharks Club giant seemingly forever and a day.
    But no one would seriously consider that he is even in the top 10 of forwards based on football skills, ability to turn a game for his side and in getting results.
    Rather than being a “modern’ forward, his bash and barge, ‘no pass’ style is more like akin to the 1960s.
    His record in SOO was woeful, and certainly he wasn’t going to win it for NSW in 2017.

  3. Challenge accepted!

    For starters what do you define as the “modern era”. Some lists and commentators define it as since 1980 some even when the limited tackle rule was introduced but I will only include players since 1990. Paul Gallen is a fine forward but IMO not even in the top 10 since 1990. You cannot deny his toughness but his overall record is average at best. His win percentage at Cronulla is only 48% and 37% for NSW. He has only won 1 premiership. I don’t include winning percentages for Australia has it will sit at about 90% for most players who have represented Australia since the 1984 Tour.

    Here are 3 in no particular order,
    1. Glenn Lazarus- Four Grand Final wins at three clubs, 19 origins at 57% win. 254 FG games at 70%.
    2. Bradley Clyde- three grand Finals with 2 Clive Churchill Medals, 12 origins at 58%, 214 FG games at 66%
    3. Shane Webcke – Four Grand Finals. A poor origin record at 37%, 254 FG games at 61%

    In fact Gallen is not even the best ever Cronulla forward. That honour IMO easily goes to Gavin Miller, a player who played tough and with creativity, without resorting to pulling at another players stitches or other grubby acts.

    • 100% tommyknocker. I am not going to get into the whole peptide thing as I honestly think he is more naive then a drug cheat.

      But to say he is the best forward of the modern era is surely a joke. He is a stats machine and a worker. I will give him credit, to play 300 games the way he does is quite an achievement, but it doesn’t make him a great player. He has consistently starved other players of the ball, both at club and SOO level, and as you have pointed out his win percentage is poor at best.

      To your list i will add Paul Harragon, Ben Kennedy, Petero Civoneceva, Matt Scott. All of those players, plus the ones you mentioned, were/are also better team players and did not consistently resort to grubby tactics on the field. Don’t get me wrong, Gallen has been a good player, but to suggest he is the greatest modern forward is a stretch.

  4. No disrespect to Gallen, and quite the opposite, because I think he’s a brilliant player, but I’d describe him, in very simple terms, as a Prop that can do long minutes. By that he runs hard, and tackles hard, but he doesn’t have the best balls skill, even for a forward, and he’s not the quickest, most agile forward getting around.

    The “modern” (current) era is getting/expecting much more from the “best” forwards. Some of the guys getting around now, even those early in their careers are/will have a bigger impact on the game, from the forward pack, than Gallen.

    But all that said, I think he’s is, and has been, a brilliant player.

  5. Remember when he king hit Nate Myles in front of thousands of adoring fans? No wonder one hit coward punches became so popular in Sydney after that.

  6. So what purpose does this article serve besides stroking his already over sized ego? You can deny the drug scandal all you want, but the fact is that him taking a reduced sentence proves that something did actually happen. To me he will always be remembered as a drug cheat who played a part in dragging the games image through mud for more than a year. Shifting the blame does nothing either, it’s the players responsibility to know what they are putting into their bodies.

    Have enjoyed articles like this in the past, but next time take your Gallen goggles off and call it how it is.

  7. He’s a drug cheat, or was a drug cheat until he got caught…since he got caught hes been more injury prone , missing a fair few games, probably because his body didn’t have the extra recovery help from what he was taking .
    Not only is Paul a drug cheat , so is his brother Peter , who is currently serving a 2 year ban from ASADA after being busted

  8. umm.. best forward of the modern era? Petero Civoniceva anyone? Webcke, Lazarus, Harragon..going back a bit further Arthur Beetson? Matt Scott goes ok too.
    Are we counting him as a prop or lock, or 2nd row? or all 3?
    He’s a good player, and a tough as nails competitor, but he aint THE greatest on the era.
    Maybe the greatest at Cronulla, considering he has the premiership ring the others dont…

    And if i remember correctly, in the Origin series ‘he’ won, he was criticized for hogging the ball and getting himself in the way of the halves in crucial moments.

Comments are closed.