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Gallen eager to beat injury and face Wests

Paul Gallen

Courageous NSW and Cronulla skipper Paul Gallen insisted he was a chance to play again on Friday despite suffering medial ligament damage early in Sunday's stirring NRL 21-20 golden point upset victory over Newcastle.
Gallen eager to beat injury and face Wests
by AAP

By Joe Barton

NEWCASTLE, NSW, May 5 AAP - Courageous NSW and Cronulla skipper Paul Gallen insisted he was a chance to play again on Friday despite suffering medial ligament damage early in Sunday's stirring NRL 21-20 golden point upset victory over Newcastle.

Gallen left the match in the third minute after being twisted awkwardly in his first hit up, wincing in pain as the body weight of Newcastle's 105kg back-rower Chris Houston came down on him.

But in the minutes after his victorious team returned to the sheds at Hunter Stadium, his mood had changed.

With a brace on his knee, Gallen was already trying to figure out how he could be ready to rejoin his battling team against the Wests Tigers this week.

Being in doubt for the State of Origin series starting in a month's time was no longer in his thoughts, rather he was trying to formulate a plan to be back on the field in just five days.

"Gal's in there at the moment making phone calls to see if he can be ready for next Friday night - that's Gal's attitude," said Sharks coach Shane Flanagan.

"He'll be getting hyperbaric chambers, he'll be swinging off trees to get ready.

"Origin is not a problem for Gal.

"... We've got a short turnaround so I wouldn't think he'd be right for Friday night, but it's Gal so we never know."

Meanwhile rookie NSW coach Laurie Daley faces an anxious wait - along with the Sharks - for the results of scans Gallen will have on the injured knee on Monday.

Already tasked with the enormous mission of preventing Queensland from winning their eighth-straight Origin series, Daley could ill afford to be without his skipper and toughest forward.

It was a fate which predecessor Ricky Stuart dealt with last year, when Gallen spent the lead-up to the opening Origin clash with an injury cloud hanging over his head as he recovered from a posterior cruciate ligament injury in the same knee.

"It's different to last year. It's a different feeling," Gallen said of his injury.

"They think it's my medial ligament rather than my posterior cruciate which is good.

"If you want to do any of them, I suppose you want to do that one."

Gallen planned to spend much of the week in a hyperbaric chamber to give him the best chance of facing the Tigers.

The 31-year-old likened his predicament to that of the Gold Coast's Albert Kelly, who last month suffered a knee injury which he feared could sideline him for months - only to play the following week.

"Who knows ... it's not too sore to be honest," he said.

The air of optimism on Gallen's injury only sweetened the mood of Flanagan who delighted in his side snapping a four-game losing streak with their dramatic golden point victory over Newcastle.

Another man certain to be walking around with a smile on his face this week will be Sydney Roosters centre Michael Jennings.

Shunned by Penrith for much of last season before being released late in the pre-season, Jennings returned to haunt his former teammates with a two-try effort in the Roosters' 30-6 mauling at Allianz Stadium on Sunday.

In Auckland, the Warriors clung to a thrilling 25-24 victory over a fast-finishing Gold Coast, but may have lost exciting fullback Kevin Locke to a potentially serious back problem.


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