Monty Porter was the man to lead the Cronulla Sharks onto the field as captain of their first-ever side in 1967.
A former St George Dragon and member of a team which would win 11 consecutive titles, Porter’s leadership and experience was invaluable to the young Sharks squad, while his contribution to the Cronulla club would continue for decades as an administrator and director.
Some 50-years later, another much-revered champion would lead the Sharks to their first premiership title, with Paul Gallen having the honour of lifting the Provan-Summons Trophy above his head following that memorable victory in the 2016 Grand Final.
Now in recognition of the two most celebrated captains in the history of the Cronulla Club, in 2020 and in the years to follow, the Sharks will award the Porter-Gallen Medal to their player of the year.
Previously known as the Monty Porter Medal and Pontifex Player of the Year, the Porter-Gallen Medal will be the feature award presented at the Porter-Gallen Medal Ceremony event to be held next Friday.
After being informed of the club’s wish to include his name alongside Porter’s on the newly cast medal, Gallen expressed his pride in having his legacy recognised on the most prestigious annual award a Sharks player can receive.
“When asked by Dino (Mezzatesta) to be on this medal with Monty I was emotional and very grateful, but my first thought was to reach out to the family,” Gallen said.
“When I spoke to Monty’s son Michael and received the Porter family’s blessing, I didn’t hesitate to accept Dino’s offer. The first Sharks captain and the first to have the opportunity to hold the premiership trophy as captain of this great club is a good mix and I hope it becomes an award cherished by the players.
“Monty Porter did so much for this club, gave so much of his life to the Sharks, leading the very first team then steering the club through some turbulent times as an administrator, so to have my name alongside his is very humbling.
“I was proud to win the Monty Porter Medal a few times during my playing career and hope future winners of the Porter-Gallen medal are equally proud,” Gallen added.
Michael Porter, himself a 154-game first-grade player at the Sharks, was confident his father would have endorsed the creation of the new medal and player of the year award.
“Dad passed in 2011 but he’d watched Gal through his early years and had a very high opinion of Paul and the way he played,” Porter said. “To have Gal’s name on this medal enhances the award tremendously.”
Both Gallen and representatives of the Porter family are expected to be in attendance at the presentation event.
The Porter-Gallen Medal is presented in association with the Pontifex Player of the Year trophy.
About Monty Porter
The Sharks first captain, Porter had previously been a member of six premiership winning teams at the St George club before playing 22 games at Cronulla in 1967.
Porter, who also represented NSW in 1960, retired at the end of the 1967 season and became Sharks club secretary, before carrying out a variety of administration and management roles over almost two decades.
In 1983 he became one of the original members of the nine-man NSWRL board of Directors.
Monty Porter passed away in 2011, aged 75.
About Paul Gallen
The most capped player in the history of the Cronulla club, Gallen would play 348 NRL games for the Sharks in a celebrated career, one which included 32 Tests for the Kangaroos and 24 Origin appearances for NSW.
Gallen, who debuted for the Sharks in 2001, also captained NSW to an Origin series victory in 2014.
First installed as Sharks captain in 2007, Gallen would relinquish the role in 2010, before skippering the Cronulla side from 2011 until his retirement at the end of the 2019 season.