Building up to the State of Origin series opener at Suncorp Stadium, we’re counting down the 10 greatest individual performances in Origin history.
At No.4 we have a herculean effort generally regarded as the greatest ever individual display by an Origin forward, NSW captain Paul Gallen’s unbelievable effort in game two of the 2011 series at ANZ Stadium.
Switched to prop after a narrow series-opening loss in what was seen as a gamble by coach Ricky Stuart, Gallen played the entire 80 minutes and racked up 31 tackles and a phenomenal 27 runs for 211 metres, as well as having a hand in Will Hopoate’s sensational second-half try, to be named man-of-the-match in NSW’s stirring 18-8 victory.
Gallen’s effort was lauded as one of the great individual Origin displays – arguably the best-ever by a forward – and he became the first player to receive a perfect ‘10’ rating fromRugby League Weekin an Origin match.
The series ended in an anti-climatic 34-24 loss in the decider despite another enormous contribution by Gallen at prop – game-high totals of 47 tackles and 20 runs. But Gallen’s bitter disappointment after a significantly-improved campaign confirmed he was the right man to lead the Blues’ bid to eventually break Queensland’s stranglehold on the Origin crown, which he finally did in 2014.
The passionate skipper was unsurprisingly awarded the Brad Fittler Medal as NSW’s Players’ Player of the series in 2011, while his now-iconic game-two performance garnered the Peter Frilingos Memorial award for Headline Moment of the Year at the Dally Ms.