NSW State of Origin training in Queensland. Picture: Getty ImagesNSW Origin skipper Paul Gallen is happy for Queensland to put a target on his head, particularly if the extra attention helps return the State of Origin shield south of the border.
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Tagged Public Enemy No. 1 after unleashing a flurry of punches on Nate Myles in the Blues’ series-opening win, Gallen says he would welcome the Maroons playing the man rather than the ball in seeking retribution.

Gallen admitted to being surprised at the lack of hostility from fans in the lead-up to the game, and believes the Maroons could play into the Blues’ hands if they make him the focus tonight.

“That’s fine. If they want to target me, I’ve got 16 other blokes behind me that are going to be right there with me,” Gallen said at yesterday’s match-eve press conference.

“If they want to concentrate on me, there’s a lot more strike power on the field than me. If they just want to worry about me, I’ll be happy with that.”

The opportunity for Myles to exact some personal revenge has been negated by the NRL’s new crackdown on fighting, with any playing throwing a punch facing the prospect of a stint in the sin-bin.

While admitting “nobody likes not being liked”, Gallen has been surprised by the lack of abuse he has received since arriving in Brisbane late Sunday night.

Local radio station Nova unveiled a light-hearted Paul Gallen Punch water bottle which carried the slogan: “It’ll let you go for Myles”, while the Courier Mail newspaper published photographs from game one depicting Gallen committing illegal plays.

The report said Gallen was guilty of hypocrisy, given he stated the reason he unloaded with a series of punches on Myles was because the Maroons enforcer had been guilty of niggling tactics.

Gallen did not shy away from his no-holds-barred approach.

“I’ve never said I’m an angel,” Gallen said. “I just go out there and play the game.

“I don’t think I was penalised for any tackles in game one besides the fight.”

Gallen knows he has to be a focal point of an inexperienced Blues front row if NSW are to win their first series since 2005.

Starting front-rower Aaron Woods is making his Origin debut, while Andrew Fifita is playing just his second game in the sky blue and Trent Merrin his sixth.

“I’ll be doing my best to play with a lot of energy and to get good line speed and some good touches early,” Gallen said.

Meanwhile, Blues players were forced to scramble for taxis after their team bus became wedged on a kerb outside Suncorp Stadium as they left yesterday’s captain’s run at the Origin venue.

The Blues were reportedly more impressed with the stadium surface, which has been the subject of much scrutiny after cutting up badly in Saturday night’s rugby union Test.

“We’re fortunate that it’s been fine since Saturday,” stadium general manager Alan Graham said.

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