His resilience and longevity is without question, with Paul Gallen having played over 300 NRL games, 32 Tests for Australia and 24 matches for NSW in the Origin arena.

It has been a celebrated career for the man who hoisted the NRL Premiership trophy in 2016, the first for the Sharks in the 50-year history of the club.

But throughout another arduous summer, Gallen has kept his head down and trained hard, at the same time saying little in the media, with his goal to be fit and ready to go for the start of the 2018 season, his 18th in the NRL.  

Gallen spoke to a media gathering on Sunday and as always, gave the impression that he was relishing the challenge of next Friday night in Townsville and to the year ahead.  

“Friday night is going to be tough, not playing a trial and without a game under my belt,” Gallen said. “I’ve done everything required of me as far as fitness goes, but there’s nothing like match fitness.

“It will probably take me two-three weeks to get back in the swing of it. But I’ll be ok.”

Again, the questions will be asked about how long he can go, when the curtain will finally come down, but Gallen answered those same queries almost a year ago to the day, then backed it up with his efforts on the field in 2017, as the Sharks Player of the Year and a major contributor to what the team achieved in qualifying for another Finals Series.

“Twelve months ago we didn’t know if I’d play again but the way I performed throughout the season gave me confidence that I could do it again. And here we are,” Gallen said.

“I work hard at training, I enjoy coming to training and I enjoy hanging out with the young boys. They keep me young, keep me motivated and without them I probably wouldn’t be playing.”

In 2018 he will also take to the field alongside a couple of new faces, probably most significantly two quality recruits in representative players Josh Dugan and Matt Moylan, with Gallen impressed by what he has seen so far.

“Josh Dugan has been good, Matty Moylan has been good. It’s now a matter for us in the middle of the field to lay a platform to give them some space,” he said.

“We’d love to see Duges with some space out wide, Matty with the ball in his hands. He has some great skills we haven’t seen before. They are going to be a major part of our team this year.”

As is Paul Gallen, some 300-plus games in and in what will be his 18th season, he is again set to play a crucial role for the Sharks in 2018.

See the full Gallen interview, now playing on Sharks TV.