AFTER roaring back into State of Origin calculations for NSW with a series of strong performances for Wests Tigers, prop Keith Galloway said last night he was ready to give the Blues what they want if coach Ricky Stuart picks him.
‘‘If I’m watching the game on TV I’ll be passionately supporting the Blues,’’ Galloway said. ‘‘And if they pick me I’ll play with the same passion. I’m ready to help if they need me. Playing Origin again is something I’d love to do - it’s the pinnacle of the game’’
Galloway, Tigers young gun Aaron Woods and Penrith’s Tim Grant are the props in contention to be added to the 17-man squad for the must-win game two of the three-game series at ANZ Stadium on June 13. Queensland won game one 18-10 in Melbourne last Wednesday.
It is expected one or two of the three will be added to the squad through a bigger bench than NSW took into game one. One spot is definitely up for grabs, with Manly second-rower Tony Williams unavailable because of a back injury.
A toe injury sustained in the round-one win by the Tigers over Cronulla put a dent in Galloway’s hopes of remaining in the NSW team after he made his Origin debut in game three of last year’s series. He was out for four games and did not get back for long enough to press for selection in game one.
But circumstances have combined to put him back on the radar, and his increased game time in recent weeks in a Tigers side that has won five straight games has helped. Galloway played for 68 minutes against North Queensland on Sunday, after playing for 60 minutes the week before and 54 the week before that.
‘‘I’ve been back for six games and I’m feeling pretty fit now,’’ Galloway said. ‘‘I’m playing a lot of minutes, and how much time I get is how I generally measure my performance. The team is going well and I feel like I’m doing well as part of the team.’’
Galloway, 26, broke into the Australian team as well last year, and racked up five Tests. The toe injury meant he was unavailable for this year’s Anzac Test against New Zealand. He said his representative experience from last year had improved his game.
‘‘I thought the Blues were awesome in Melbourne last week and were really unlucky to lose,’’ he said. ‘‘I don’t know if they’re going to make any changes but it would be great to be there if they decide they want me. I learned a lot from that one Origin game last year - it was an unreal experience.’’
Galloway said 21-year-old Woods was bound to play Origin sooner rather than later, adding: ''I think Aaron’s destined for great things. I’d love to play Origin with him - we’ve got a pretty good partnership going at the Tigers.
Grant, 24, has also had to fight off an early-season injury to a calf muscle. He is being mentored by former NSW prop Glenn Lazarus.
‘‘I spoke to ‘Lazzo’ while I was out injured and he kept my confidence high and talked about the possibility of my one day playing Origin,’’ Grant said yesterday. ‘‘It’s pretty special for a guy like that to call you. I was in awe of him growing up - I think he’s probably one of the best front-rowers to ever play the game.’’