Big Red turns back on childhood team
By Christian Nicolussi From: The Daily Telegraph September 20, 2010 12:00AM
WESTS Tigers enforcer Keith Galloway grew up supporting the Dragons and played alongside Michael Weyman in the Australian Schoolboys side.
Now the rampaging redhead would love to cut short another Dragons September campaign - and ruin Weyman’s premiership dream - as the two sides prepare to clash in front of 70,000 fans on Saturday night.
“He [Weyman] was the main man on all those Schoolboy trips, our captain and a gun junior who dominated every level of junior rugby league,” Galloway said last night.
“Everybody knew he was bound for bigger things. But I’m looking forward to coming up against him again. I was a Dragons fan as a kid, but I’m definitely no longer a fan and can’t wait to try and match it with them and get over the top of them.”
While Benji Marshall has created plenty of headlines for his on-field brilliance, it has been the unbelievable workrate of the unheralded Tigers forward pack that has helped the club get within 80 minutes of a grand final.
Galloway, who was awarded the players’ player on Friday in Canberra, said: "Our forward pack has been unreal, we’re trying to lay the platform and we’re all working for each other.
“Gibbsy [Bryce Gibbs] will hit anyone, I’d never run at him, and Todd Payten is Mr Experience who has been unreal for us. When you do a few hit-ups it’s then great to see Benji make a break and do something out of nothing. It’s a good feeling.”
Fellow Tigers’ forwards, including Liam Fulton - who was in the same 2002 Aussie Schoolboys outfit - Gibbs and Chris Heighington, believe the tight bond has helped give the club a new-found respect up front.
Heighington, who was made a big offer from the Dragons before he opted to remain with the Tigers last year, said: "We all know our role in the team.
“The Dragons will be tough, they’re in form, consistent and will grind you down, so we’ll have to pull out one of our best performances to beat them.”
Friendly fire in battle of giants
Brent Read From: The Australian September 20, 2010 12:00AM
KEITH Galloway and Mick Weyman go way back. All the way back, in fact, to 2002 when they were teammates in the NSW and Australian Schoolboys sides.
Back then, Weyman was the main man. A player so good he was already earmarked for first grade at the Canberra Raiders. A year later, Weyman cracked the NRL as an 18-year-old.
Two months later Galloway topped that – he made his debut with Cronulla aged 17. On Saturday night, seven years after the one-time teammates infiltrated the NRL as teenagers, they face each other with a grand final at stake.
“When I see him we have a laugh,” Galloway said.
“He’s a pretty good guy. It will be good to get out there and try to get over him.”
It won’t be easy but Galloway is coming off arguably his most influential game for Wests Tigers. The red-headed giant set the tone for last Friday night’s semi-final win over Canberra with a barnstorming run in the opening minutes.
That burst was only the start. He continually punched holes in the Raiders’ defence as the Tigers forced their way into the preliminary final against St George Illawarra.
While Galloway was tearing Canberra to shreds, Weyman and his Dragons teammates had their feet up enjoying a weekend off.
“He’s unreal for them,” Galloway said. “He’s definitely their main go-forward guy. He’s probably the main one we need to stop.”
Asked whether it would be his job to get over the top of his former teammate, Galloway said: “There’s a whole forward pack there. It’s not like it’s me and him in a boxing ring.”
Although he made his first grade debut at 17, you could argue Galloway is only now finding his feet. His form for the Tigers over the past two seasons has prompted talk of representative football and he may have played for NSW earlier this season had he not been struck down by injury.
“It was a bit disappointing,” he said. "I don’t know whether I was going to be in the side. If any positives came out of it, it gave me the chance to freshen up a bit.
“I had five weeks off and I am feeling pretty good.”
His performance against the Raiders suggests a growing maturity and realisation of his ability to put his stamp on games.
“We were up against a real good pack,” he said. "The onus was on us to match them and take it to them. We laid the platform early and it got us the win. I thought I had to stand up to them.
“I feel like I am an integral part of the side now and feel like I have a right to play in the team.”
The next step is to force his way into the NSW and Test sides. Weyman has already done that.
There’s a possibility the pair could be reunited for Australia in the upcoming Four Nations. Weyman has the edge given he played the entire State of Origin series earlier this year.
Galloway needed a strong finals series and thus far he’s on track.
“It would be good to get picked but to be honest it’s not at the forefront of my mind,” he said. “Hopefully, we win the competition and who knows?”
Galloway won’t let sentiment get in way
September 20, 2010
WHEN Keith Galloway signed his first contract with Wests Tigers, he believed he had backed a winner. He did so midway through 2005, and watched on excitedly once his Cronulla side was knocked out as the Tigers went on to claim the premiership.
Four lean years followed, when the Tigers were unable to reach the finals, let alone a grand one.
‘‘We’ve been so close on so many occasions,’’ Galloway said yesterday. ‘‘We’ve missed by a point - we always seem to finish ninth.’’
Now in his first finals series with the club - and just his second overall - Galloway is just one game away from a grand final.
He admitted his next match would be the biggest of his life - a preliminary final against St George Illawarra, which just happens to be the team he supported as a kid and represented as a junior.
Galloway, the in-form front-rower who terrorised Canberra’s big pack on Friday night, grew up in the St George district, played for Brighton, and many wonder how he escaped the grasp of the Dragons, given he was mentored in his youth by the late St George front-rower Robert Stone. Before he was an administrator with the Dragons, Stone, ironically, was responsible for leading Galloway away from the club, convincing the teenager to play for the junior team that Stone was then involved with, Sutherland team Yarrawarra.
‘‘I supported them as a kid,’’ Galloway said. ''I still live in the area, in Beverly Hills, but that’s as far as the link goes now.
‘‘I might have gone for them as a kid but I don’t have feelings for them any more.’’
Before this year, he played just one finals match, for Cronulla in 2005. When he watched his future club storm through the same finals series to triumph over North Queensland that year, via the Dragons, he thought a match of this significance would come quicker than it has.
He hopes it will be worth the wait.
‘‘It’s going to be huge,’’ Galloway said. ‘‘There’ll be a big build-up to the game and a massive crowd. I can’t wait.’’