200 games in charge for 'Captain Courageous'

Today Paul Gallen will take on the responsibility as team captain for the 200th time when he leads the Sharks out for the local derby clash at PointsBet Stadium. 

The man who lifted the Premiership trophy back in 2016, making him the most famous and most photographed of all Sharks skippers, Gallen reaches yet another magic milestone in a celebrated career in a match that has huge finals implications for the Cronulla team. 

Back when first called upon to assume the duty as captain on a part-time basis in 2007, before taking over the role in 2008, Gallen would have drawn on the past deeds of Tommy Bishop, Steve Rogers, Greg Pierce, Gavin Miller and Andrew Ettingshausen, Sharks immortals who led the club with distinction, however now with a record unsurpassed by all to have pulled on the Cronulla jersey, coach John Morris is one who hopes Gallen can go out the way he deserves when he hangs up the boots at the end of the 2019 season.  

"I'm trying not to think about that," Morris said to AAP about Gallen not receiving a Finals farewell. 

"I've certainly spoken to the boys about sending him out with the finish that he deserves. They want to send Gal out with the finale that he deserves," Morris said.

"And that's obviously to play finals footy, hopefully even holding the trophy up.”

Not that it needed to, however this latest milestone, coming on the back of Gallen eclipsing Ettingshausen as the most-capped Shark of all time earlier this year, cements his place not only amongst Cronulla’s greats, but also as one of the most significant NRL players of his era. 

Senior Sharks Aaron Woods and Shaun Johnson, during mid week media calls were others intent on sending their skipper out a winner. 

Both spoke of the legacy Gallen would leave at years end and wanting to help enhance that reputation with another successful season.

A player not deemed good enough for the elite level by his junior club, Gallen moved to the Sharks where he would debut as a 19-year-old in 2001. 

Now 38 and the oldest player running around in the NRL, Gallen has gone on to amass 344 top grade games, played 24 Origin matches, captaining NSW to a series victory in 2014, while representing Australia on 32 occasions in what has been a remarkable career.

In three weeks time Gallen will play his final game at his footballing home of PointsBet Stadium, a match set to be celebrated in his honour, but in typical fashion he has been trying to down play it, looking to make it more about club, team and winning their way into the finals. 

Today he will also ignore the fanfare and put personal accolades aside, dismissing talk of another milestone match, preferring not to make a fuss and to put too much emphasis on himself, with his sole focus today on steering his team to a victory, a win crucial to their premiership aspirations.