Gallen cleared to play Origin decider

By Matt Encarnacion

Scans have cleared NSW Origin skipper Paul Gallen of any major damage and he is considered likely to return to NRL action against the Cowboys on Saturday week.

That would have Gallen ready to lead the Blues in the Origin series decider against Queensland in Brisbane on July 8.

The Cronulla skipper has all but been ruled out of Sunday's clash against Newcastle after popping a rib cartilage in State of Origin II in Melbourne.

Sharks coach Shane Flanagan relieved at the news that Gallen won't have lasting issues.

"As of about 1pm he had his second scan to make sure that he hasn't done any damage to his organs, especially his kidney and lung. They're all be fine," Flanagan said.

"He got a bullet in and around where the cartilage is being torn.

"He's feeling a lot better today, especially improvement from yesterday again.

"(There's a) 90 per cent change he's not going to play this weekend but he should be right for the following week against the Cowboys.

"That's his main focus now."

Flanagan ruled out any suggestion of further damage to the hip injury that forced Gallen to the sidelines for eight weeks, including the Blues' series-opening loss in Sydney.

"That's fine. Never even got a scan on it," he said.

"He said he trained really well in Origin camp last year with that hip and didn't flare up."

While disappointed to be without Gallen for Sunday's match against Newcastle, Flanagan refused to blame the State of Origin period for the loss of his skipper.

"We're really disappointed. We pay his wages and he goes off and plays for NSW and unfortunately got injured," he said.

"But you can't have your cake and eat it too. You've got to understand that if you want rep players within your club, they're going to be taken away from you at some stages.

"Origin's here forever, so we've just got to deal with it.

"We know where it sits in our competition at the moment. So I'm probably on the other side of the coin. I don't look at it and say we've got to change it. It is what it is."