Following Mitchell Pearce’s recent arrest, the Blues’ captain Paul Gallen has said his team needs avoid distractions and focus on the task ahead, now just 12 days out from the series opener.
The Blues’ camp has recently moved from Coogee to Coffs Harbour to avoid any unwanted attention and Gallen says he will be leading by example, going on a drinking ban during the State of Origin series.
“I’m not going to push (an alcohol ban) on the players but I’m not going to drink.
“I want to go there and win this series. That’s my whole focus… I don’t say it’s unfortunate, it’s just the way the game is heading becoming so professional,” Gallen said.
Last year Blues’ players Blake Ferguson and James Tamou were both suspended for drinking offences, a cost the Blues can’t afford this time around.
The New South Wales team is already facing a handful of challenges with Greg Bird suspensed for Game I, Andrew Fifita the most recent addition to the bench due to injury and the Mitchell Pearce saga has left the Blues halfback position in jeopardy.
Gallen said there is a lot of pressure on rugby league players because “everyone’s just waiting for someone to stuff up” but admitted it was their professional responsibility to act accordingly.
“Mitchell Pearce the other night was handcuffed on the street. If he was a normal bloke I don’t know if he would have been handcuffed. We are treated differently but we do have a responsibility to live up to that expectation.”
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