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Gallen’s absence puts pressure on the Blues

BUSINESS AS USUAL: Brent Tate performs a drill during the Maroons’ training session yesterday in Coolum.
BUSINESS AS USUAL: Brent Tate performs a drill during the Maroons’ training session yesterday in Coolum. PHOTO WARREN LYNAM

MAROONS winger Brent Tate says New South Wales must overcome the "huge blow" of losing skipper Paul Gallen if they are to end their State of Origin misery.

The Blues could hardly have received worse news when on Friday it was announced Gallen - their heart and soul - had been withdrawn from Wednesday's decider at ANZ Stadium due to an ankle injury.

But while Tate said the Blues would miss Gallen, there was no way Queensland would be lulled into anything resembling a false sense of security.

Speaking before Maroons training at Coolum yesterday, he said: "Without a doubt it (Gallen's withdrawal) is a loss, knowing the importance that he brings to that side.

"Obviously, he's their captain and he's one of the best players in the game, so losing him is a huge blow for them.

"But in saying that, for us to be thinking it weakens them as a side would be pretty foolish, I feel."

Manly playmaker Daly Cherry-Evans will again sit on the Queensland bench after making his Origin debut in the Maroons' ambushing of NSW in game two at Suncorp Stadium.

Cherry-Evans' performance was applauded and he will be the only specialist back on either side's bench in game three as Queensland eyes a record eighth straight series win.

Tate said the ex-Sunshine Coast Sea Eagle provided Queensland with something special, and Mar-oons centre Justin Hodges labelled him the Maroons' "X-factor".

"He was thrown in the middle in the second game and I thought he handled it really well," Tate said.

"Daly's such a talented kid and such a confident kid. He does bring a whole new dimension when he comes on.

"For him to come on and make his impact, our guys have got to be doing the job, like they did in game two.

"But he's a real good kid and I'm sure, again, wherever he's called upon he'll do the job.

"I've got a big rap on Daly and he handled it (Origin) really, really well, which we all knew he would because he's a class act, isn't he?"

Tate, whose career has been punctuated by several serious injuries, will play his 21st game for Queensland this week.

While continuing to play is a "year to year" proposition for him given his injuries, he is loath to call time on his Origin days.

"Like I said the other day, I had to fight really, really hard to get this jersey back," he said.

"I don't want to be giving it away if they're willing to give me one, that's for sure."

Topics:  decider injuries paul gallen state of origin


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