Former Blues player Steve Mortimer standing alongside NSW captain Paul Gallen and Robbie Farah.
Former Blues player Steve Mortimer standing alongside NSW captain Paul Gallen and Robbie Farah. Mark Kolbe

Time for Gallen to be stripped of Blues captaincy

OPINION: Attitude reflects leadership.

It's a quote from one of my favourite flicks, Remember the Titans.

The reason I bring this up is because after what I have seen so far in this year's State of Origin series, Paul Gallen's on-field leadership is leading the New South Wales team down the wrong path and into the hands of Queensland.

Therefore it is time for him to be relieved of the captaincy duties and replaced by Robbie Farah for the decider in Sydney.

Before you start accusing me of Blues bashing, let me first make clear that I am a Blues supporter, and proud to be one.

But like any long-suffering Blues fan, I don't want to endure 12 months of Queenslanders gloating about another Maroons series win.

Now I know leadership change is in vogue at the moment (thanks Canberra by the way for overshadowing our sacred Origin night), but this is not a popularity contest.

This is about winning a football game in one of the toughest sporting arenas in the world.

And to do that you need a leader who stays calm and composed under pressure, not one who loses his cool and does something stupid like throw a punch when it's not necessary.

>> Biff back as Queensland crushes New South Wales

Now I'm not questioning Gallen's skills as a player - he's been a mighty contributor for many years and should be the first player picked in the Blues side every time.

But the facts are that since that infamous punch in game one at ANZ Stadium, the Blues have lost the next three halves of football and scored just one try in 120 minutes.

Blues coach Laurie Daley described Gallen's punch on Nate Myles as "great leadership", when in fact it set a bad example for the rest of his team.

One glaring example of how Gallen's "leadership" has rubbed off on his teammates was Trent Merrin on Wednesday night.

When Brent Tate pushed Gallen off one of his Maroons teammates, Merrin had several choices: he could have let it go and got on with the game, appealed to the referee for a penalty or retaliated in a similar manner as Tate and push back.

Instead he chose to do what he felt his captain would have done in the same instance and throw a punch.

Even worse, Gallen seemed bewildered by the referee's decision to send two of his players to the sin-bin for their involvement in the scuffle.

To his credit, though, after the match Gallen said he felt Merrin should have been the only player sent off.

Still, he has a lot to learn.

Take a leaf out of Queensland's book.

Everyone thought the Maroons would be looking for a square up on Gallen - but did it ever eventuate?

They concentrated more on what was more important and hit 'em where it hurt NSW most - on the scoreboard.

That's where a good leader like Cameron Smith is vital in the heat of battle.

Such is the composure of the Smith-led Maroons that they simply rolled up their sleeves and got on with the job.

Farah's focus and cool demeanour indicates a man who knows what the responsibilities as captain are.

In order for NSW to deny Queensland an eighth-straight series victory, they need the eye of the Tiger and not the bite of a Shark in game three.