Paul Gallen (born 14 August 1981) is an Australian professional rugby league footballer and heavyweight boxer who currently captains the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks of the National Rugby League as well as the New South Wales State of Origin team. He has also been the vice captain of the Australian national team and has played his whole NRL career to date with the Sharks, with whom he won the 2016 NRL Premiership.
In 2014, Gallen admitted to using the banned performing enhancing peptide drugs. It was found that he unknowingly and unwittingly took the substances given to him by people he trusted at the club.
Born in Sydney, New South Wales, Gallen played his junior rugby league for the Wentworthville Magpies and was in the Parramatta Eels junior system playing the S. G. Ball Cup before being overlooked by the Eels. Gallen later signed with the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks.
Gallen made his NRL debut for the Cronulla Sharks against the Parramatta Eels in round 15 at Toyota Park on 3 June. Cronulla lost the match 36 to 6. He made one more appearance that season in the final round, where the Sharks were victorious over the Brisbane Broncos 24–16.
In round 14, the Sharks beat the Canberra Raiders by 36 points to 26. During the match, Gallen scored his first ever try at first-grade level.
In total, Gallen made 21 appearances in his second season at first-grade level for the Cronulla Sharks, scoring one try.
Gallen was sent off in round 11 against the Newcastle Knights by referee Paul Simpkins after a high shot on Sean Rudder.
Gallen made a total of 17 first-grade appearances for the club in 2003, scoring five tries in the process.
In the opening round of the year, against the Wests Tigers, Gallen was involved in a fight which saw him suspended for two weeks after the NRL judiciary found him guilty of a contrary conduct charge. The judiciary decided that he had "instigated and tried to go on with a fight involving Wests Tigers prop John Skandalis". He also sustained an elbow injury during the match which ruled him out until round six of the competition. Gallen was the only player in round one to contest his charge.
In round 11 against the Manly Sea Eagles, Gallen scored an impressive two tries in his sides 30 points to 28 victory.
In June it was announced that Gallen had extended his contract for another three seasons.
In the 2004 season, Gallen made a total of 19 appearances for the club and scoring five tries.
In round 24, the Sharks scored their biggest ever victory, scoring a 68 points to 6 win over the Manly Sea Eagles, with Gallen scoring a try.
Cronulla finished in seventh place and therefore qualified to be involved in the finals series. They were drawn against the second placed side, which happened to be local rivals St. George-Illawarra. In the match Gallen managed to score a try for Cronulla, however it wasn't enough to save the Sharks from losing the match 28 points to 22.
Gallen was presented the Cronulla Sharks chairman's Award in 2005 by the club's President Barry Pierce after his impressive season where he led the NRL in both hit ups and off loads. At the 2005 Dally M Awards, he was also nominated for the position of "Best Lock". However, he lost out to Manly lock Ben Kennedy.
In the 2005 NRL season, Gallen played a total of 25 games in first-grade for the Sharks and in the process scored six tries.
Gallen ran 3,920 metres with the ball in 2005, more than any other player in the competition.
Before the season started it was discovered that Gallen was suffering from a bulging disc in his lower back. After having surgery he wanted to return to action just a week after having the surgery done. He ended up making his comeback within nine weeks which amazed the Sharks medical staff as it was predicted it would take much longer than that.
Gallen won his first ever representative jersey when he was selected to play for City in the annual City vs Country match. In June, Sharks coach Stuart Raper pleaded with the New South Wales selectors to give Gallen an opportunity to prove his worth at State of Origin level. Raper stated that "Gallen's been consistent for us over the past 18 months and if NSW hiccup on Wednesday night...he'll certainly be knocking on the door." After missing out on selection in the first game, Gallen was again not selected for the second match. However, after New South Wales was thrashed by Queensland, the NSW selectors made drastic changes to their team. Gallen was selected to play in the third and final match, which was to be the State of Origin decider, where Queensland came from behind to win 16–14.
Gallen was selected to play in the annual Prime Minister's XIII squad to play Papua New Guinea at the end of September. The Prime Minister's XIII defeated Papua New Guinea 28 points to 8 at Port Moresby but Gallen failed to be selected for the Australian Tri Nations squad. At the end of the season, Paul Gallen won the Sharks' supporters player of the year award
In September 2006, just days after he was voted the Sharks supporters player of the year, Gallen announced that he was considering leaving the Sharks despite having a year left on his contract. Gallen stated that it wasn't the club or coaching staff that made him consider leaving the club but rather the fact that "I just want to play semi-final football". Gallen also stated that he was "looking for a fresh start and a fresh challenge".
In 2006, Gallen made 18 appearances in first-grade for the Cronulla Sharks, scoring seven tries for the club.
Due to his claims at the end of the previous season that he wanted out of the club, there was much speculation about Gallen's future at the Cronulla Sharks before the season started as his contract was set to expire at the back end of the 2007 season. There were rumours that he would walk out on the club after his contract expired as well as other reports in the media that Manly would sign him as a long-term replacement for a recently retired player, Ben Kennedy. However, Gallen decided to stay at the club, putting to rest the rumours in the media, by signing a four-year deal with Cronulla, meaning that he would stay at the club until 2011. Gallen reportedly turned down a $1.4 million offer from Manly in favour of a $1.1 million deal. Manly confirmed that they were interested in signing him, however Manly denied that they ever made an actual offer for him. Gallen stated that he decided to stay at the Sharks because he was inspired by Nathan Hindmarsh, who had recently signed a contract with the Eels in the aim to be a one-club man. Gallen also cited the fact that he wanted to win a premiership with the club because "you'd be remembered for your whole life here in Cronulla if you were part of that first-ever premiership" as well as the fact that his "old man also wanted me to stay at the Sharks."
In a pre-season trial against South Sydney, Gallen had to be taken from the field with an injury to his ankle. After undergoing an MRI scan on his ankle, Sharks physio Matt Green stated that "the scans have revealed ligament damage but the injury is not as bad as first feared." The injury kept Gallen out until round four of the season when he made his return against the St. George-Illawarra Dragons and he made his first start of the NRL season a week later against the Wests Tigers but only because he was taking painkilling injections before the games. In round 6, against Canberra, Gallen set up a try for Ben Pomeroy before he was forced from the field due to injury during the second half. However, the injury wasn't serious and he was cleared to play in the following round against Newcastle.
It was announced that Gallen had been selected for City to play in the annual City vs Country match but he was later forced to withdraw due to another ankle injury which he sustained in round 7 against Newcastle. The injury was not serious enough to keep him out for the next NRL fixture against the New Zealand Warriors, but the club doctors believed that his right ankle could not handle playing in the City vs Country match as that would have meant playing three games in the space of six days.
In the match against the Broncos in round 9, Gallen put in another impressive performance, setting up a try in the process. A week later in the match against Canterbury, Gallen sealed the 30–20 points victory with a try in the dying stages of the match. For his effort against the Bulldogs, Gallen was voted as the man of the match. The following week in round 11, Gallen again scored a try in a losing effort against the Roosters.
On 11 June, in round 13, Gallen sparked controversy in the local derby match against St. George-Illawarra at Oki Jubilee Stadium in which Cronulla triumphed 20 points to 16. Gallen was accused of taking a dive after copping a high shot by Richie Williams. After the referee awarded the penalty Gallen rose to his feet and winked at his teammates. Gallen defended the incident claiming that he "was hit in the head and it hurt". St. George-Illawarra coach Nathan Brown hit out at Paul Gallen claiming that he "is a tough player, that wouldn't have knocked the top off him." Also in the match, Gallen was placed on report for a head high tackle on Ben Creagh. However, Gallen did manage to set up the first Sharks try for Mitch Brown.
In the days following the game, Gallen continued to come under scrutiny. Gallen explained "We've got a motto here at the Sharks: do whatever it takes to win. That's what I've always done. I'm never going to stop doing that." Gallen continued "we won the game. That's all I care about."
In round 14 against New Zealand, Gallen was again put on report by the referee after a head high tackle on Patrick Ah Van. The judiciary charged him with a grade one careless high tackle which in turn meant that he was suspended for the game against South Sydney in the following round. Cronulla had the bye in round 16 which meant that Gallen had not had the previous two weeks to prove himself for selection in the third game of the series in State of Origin. Despite this, Gallen was rewarded for his impressive season to date with a call-up to the New South Wales side for the third State of Origin match, although New South Wales were already 2–0 down in the three game series.
Before the third game of the Origin series, Gallen declared that he "can't wait to be running out and getting booed, I love that sort of stuff. It would mean everything going up there and beating them." After New South Wales had lost the first two games, there was talk that New South Wales lacked passion and Gallen stated that "everybody was sick of hearing it." Just over ten minutes into the match, Gallen put a high shot on Tonie Carroll. Gallen, who was also helped out by his team-mates, then preceded to get in a fight with the opposition. Speaking of the incident after the match, Gallen stated that he and Greg Bird "came here saying that if anyone touches any of us, we're putting it on. I knew it would be a penalty but I knew it would also fire the boys up – it's good for the game."
Gallen was impressive in just his second State of Origin match. In the 55 minutes of the match that he was involved in, he made a total of 127 metres gained as well as making 15 tackles. But even after Queensland lost their lock in the first minute, both their wingers during the middle of the game and numerous other injuries to players who could not come off due to no more replacements, NSW could not get more than a two-point lead until the 72nd minute where they scored two tries, Gallen setting up the final New South Wales try for Hazem El Masri, which in the process capped off an 18 points to 4 New South Wales victory.
After the round 18 loss to the Sydney Roosters, Gallen was charged by the NRL judiciary for a "grade one contrary conduct offence" after he head-butted Roosters' player Shane Shackleton, and was subsequently banned for one match.
Round 22, against third-placed Parramatta Eels, saw the Sharks snap a seven-match losing streak in golden point extra time. It was later reported that after the match that Gallen was involved in an incident with Reece Williams at winger Dustin Cooper's house. After consuming what was said to be "too much alcohol", team-mates and good friends Gallen and Williams were involved in a fight. Coach Ricky Stuart stated that although it should not have happened, that there was nothing serious about it as it was only "a scuffle".
At the conclusion of the NRL Premiership, Gallen was rewarded for his fine season with a call-up for the Australian squad in a one-off test match against New Zealand on 14 October. However, it was announced barely a week before the match that Gallen had to be pulled out of the squad due to a "shoulder injury", with his replacement being Melbourne Storm's Dallas Johnson.
Gallen attracted attention after the round 3 clash with the Titans for "grubby" play. The Sydney Morning Herald even claimed Gallen should face jail time for his facial assault on Anthony Laffranchi, where he allegedly attempted to rip the stitches out of Laffranchi's head wound. Titans player Josh Graham also claimed that Gallen clutched his testicles in a tackle on Graham. Photos of the incident supported the allegation, but no charge was laid against Gallen.
Gallen was selected for all three games in the annual State of Origin series. In the third and decisive game of the series Gallen gave away three penalties and came under heavy criticism from fans for his lack of discipline, in particular for his late hit on Johnathan Thurston. Gallen described the loss as the worst of his career but defended himself saying "they've been saying that those three penalties cost us the game. But there's no way in the world that anyone can say that." Due to his ill discipline in the deciding match, there were calls for Gallen to be sacked as captain of the Sharks but coach Ricky Stuart came out and backed Gallen by saying that he should remain the club captain.
In round 18, Gallen scored Cronulla's only try in the top of the table clash in which the Sharks lost to Manly by 34 points to 6. Gallen described the heavy defeat as embarrassing. In the following match against the Newcastle Knights, Gallen was put on report for a high shot on Cooper Vuna. He also gave away several other penalties and claimed that the referees were targeting him.
In 2008, Gallen represented Australia in the centennial test, scoring a try.
In August, Gallen was named in Australia's preliminary 46-man Kangaroos squad for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup, and in October 2008 he was selected in the final 24-man Australia squad.
Although the Cronulla Sharks sat on the bottom of the 2009 NRL ladder after six rounds, Gallen was named in the preliminary 40-man squad for NSW for 2009's State of Origin series. He was selected for Australia in the one-off test match against New Zealand on 8 May 2009.
In May 2009, Gallen attracted public outrage for racially abusing Mickey Paea. The incident gained attention initially, due to the angry reaction of Paea, who is normally a quiet reserved player with strong religious beliefs. After the event, there were reports Gallen would be stripped of his captaincy. However, pre-empting this, on 1 June 2009, Gallen voluntarily stepped down from his Sharks captaincy.
In December 2009, Paul Gallen was issued with a criminal infringement notice for urinating in public near the head of a drunken friend.
For the 2010 ANZAC Test, Gallen was selected to play for Australia at lock forward in their victory against New Zealand. Gallen was left out of the first match of the State of Origin side but was selected for the two remaining matches. In the second game he was placed on report for a high shot on Nate Myles in the twenty-third minute. However, his performance was still impressive enough to lead Daily Telegraph Sports editor-at-large, New South Welshman Phil Rothfield, to postulate, that of all the NSW players, Gallen "possibly" would be the only one that Queensland would select if he was theoretically available for them (in place of Ashley Harrison). In the final match of the series, Gallen scored his side's first try just before half time and set up team mate Kurt Gidley for their second try just after the interval.
2011 later emerged at the centre of Cronulla's drug cheating scandal.
Gallen was selected for all three games of the 2011 State of Origin series, as well as for Australia. He scored his first try of the season in round 3, against the Panthers. The Sharks won that game 44–12. In State of Origin II Gallen was controversially selected to play prop and became the first prop to play 80 minutes in an Origin match since Steve Price (rugby league) in 2007. His performance earned him man of the match. Subsequently, there were claims that his performance was fueled by performance-enhancing substances, with journalist Andrew Webster linking these in an article; "State of Origin 2016: The tough question NSW Blues captain Paul Gallen does not want to answer".
On 3 November 2011, the annual RLIF Awards dinner was held at the Tower of London and Gallen was named loose forward of the year.
Gallen again captained New South Wales for the 2012 State of Origin series, which was again won by Queensland. At the 2012 Dally M Awards, Gallen was named the NRL's lock forward of the year.
Gallen was selected for Australia in the 2013 ANZAC Test and played at lock forward. In what was the first test match ever played in Canberra, New Zealand were defeated. Gallen was named captain of the New South Wales Blues for the 2013 State of Origin series. Gallen led his team to victory in game one at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, however the win was not without controversy, and Gallen lodged a guilty plea to a striking charge for the undefended punches he landed on the head of Maroons forward, Nate Myles. Gallen had not been sent off for the infringement and this led to the introduction of a rule that players would be sin-binned for any punch thrown in future Origin matches.
On 22 August 2014, Gallen was one of the Sharks players who pleaded guilty to having used banned peptides, and in exchange was given a reduced, backdated ban from ASADA and Sports Minister Peter Dutton for his part in the 2011 supplements scandal. Gallen received nearly $80,000 from the NRL to cover legal fees, however, in late October, Gallen sent an offensive tweet aimed at the NRL, complaining of a lack of support to him regards his confessed drug use. It was later deleted and replaced with a story which Gallen attempted to blame his father, which Gallen admitted lying about before taking responsibility.
Prior to pleading guilty, Gallen stated that he and the other players will "be labelled drug cheats if they accept reduced bans".
Gallen captained the New South Wales team to victory over Queensland in the 2014 State of Origin series. The win marked the first time that New South Wales had won the series during the current decade and it put an end to Queensland's record of eight series wins in a row.
Gallen again captained NSW in the State of Origin series. Gallen missed the first game due to an injury, and after the third game decider attracted considerable criticism by the media for displaying a lack of leadership; "We saw nothing of that from Gallen, nor from any of them... just meek acceptance of their fate, while on the superbly led, magnificent Queensland side, even when 40 points up, they just wanted more, more, more!"
Gallen was again the captain of NSW for the series. After the second, and series losing, loss, highly respected rugby league pundit and former coach, Phil Gould, opined that NSW "have the wrong culture - and the wrong leaders". Despite this, Gallen retained the captaincy for the third game of the series, which was won by New South Wales 18-14. During the presentation ceremony after the match he was criticised for walking away while the Queensland captain, Cameron Smith, was accepting the shield.
Gallen captained the Cronulla Sharks to the 2016 NRL Grand Final. After an intense game, the team took the title of NRL Premiers, defeating the Melbourne Storm 14-12, the Sharks' first premiership in their 49 year history.
On 31 January 2015, Gallen had his third professional fight in an event that featured other rugby footballers including, Liam Messam, Willis Meehan and Sonny Bill Williams. Gallen has fought in two amateur fights against All Blacks' Hika Elliot and Liam Messam.
|6 Wins (3 knockouts, 3 decision), 0 Losses, 0 Draws|
|Win||7–0||Ryan Carr Ketu||OK||3||2016-12-23||Southern Cross Group Stadium, Woolooware, New South Wales|
|Win||6–0||Junior Paulo||UD||3||2016-12-09||Hordern Pavilion, Moore Park, New South Wales|
|Win||5–0||Herman Ene Purcell||TKO||4 (5) 2:00||2016-01-29||Rumours International, Toowoomba, Queensland|
|Win||4–0||Bodene Thompson||UD||4||2015-11-03||SkyCity Convention Centre, Auckland City, Auckland|
|Win||3–0||Randall Rayment||UD||4||2015-01-31||Allphones Arena, Sydney, New South Wales|
|Win||2–0||Anthony Watts||TKO||1 (4), 1:28||2014-12-03||Hordern Pavilion, Moore Park, New South Wales|
|Win||1–0||Herman Ene-Purcell||TKO||2 (4), 2:53||2014-02-19||Hordern Pavilion, Moore Park, New South Wales||Professional debut.|