NSW skipper Paul Gallen is set to be rushed back into the State of Origin team after coming through unscathed in Cronulla’s 10-4 upset win over a wasteful Roosters side at Remondis Stadium.
In front of a healthy crowd of 14,235, Gallen played all but four minutes in a vintage performance that included a game-high 230 running metres and 41 tackles.
More importantly, he looked hardly troubled in two separate stints by a hip injury that has kept him on the sidelines for the past two months.
“I’m fine. I’ll stay on top of things,” Gallen said after the match.
Pressed on his preparation for Origin, the 33-year-old said he was taking a wait-and-see approach.
“I spoke to Laurie (Daley) earlier in the week and just told him that I’d be right to play this week,” he said.
“I’ll just wait and see what he comes up with in the next 24 hours. Fingers crossed, I’m ready to go.”
While NSW will welcome the return of their skipper, Sharks fans will celebrate their second boilover against the competition heavyweights this year.
An ill-disciplined Roosters outfit were made to pay for completing just 59 per cent of their sets, continually handing possession over to their opposition and struggling to get out of their end of the field.
Cronulla were down 4-0 when Jeff Robson offloaded to Luke Lewis to nab the go-ahead try in the 46th minute.
More Roosters errors allowed the Sharks to camp themselves in the opposition red zone, and they managed to pot penalty goals in the 64th and 77th minutes to seal their second win in three games.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson pasted his team for a lacklustre performance less than one week after a season-best effort against Melbourne.
“We patted ourselves on the back for too long. Some coaches and some players have got to make sure they wake up to themselves pretty quickly,” he said.
“I’ve got to make sure and the players have got to make sure that we get back into what we started to build there.
“There’s no soft way around it. We know our footy and were just looking for shortcuts.
“It just doesn’t work in our game we just got outworked.
“(Cronulla) were looking for a fight and they fought for 80 minutes and we fought for the first 15 and then looked for some outs through some footy.
“We didn’t lay a platform. It’s horrible, horrible footy.”
The hosts started brightly enough but the Roosters scored first points when Jack Bird’s 16th minute grubber cannoned into James Maloney, who then raced 90 metres to score.
But the Roosters’ poor handling gifted Cronulla plenty of opportunities to get on the scoreboard.
However just once did the home side come close to crossing the stripe, only for Valentine Holmes to be adjudged to have taken advantage of an illegal decoy, leaving them to face a 4-0 deficit at halftime.