Gal: Fifita bid wrong on every level
FORMER NSW captain Paul Gallen has shut down Andrew Fifita's bid to play State of Origin this year after he pledged his allegiance to Tonga.
Fifita was resigned to not wearing the sky blue jersey again when he confirmed his loyalties lay outside Australia earlier this year but a loophole means he is still eligible to play for NSW and Tonga.
While Tonga plays a mid-season Pacific Test against Samoa the day before Origin II, Fifita has put his hand up to represent the Blues in games one and three.
He's never won an Origin series and on Sunday said he would love nothing more than to have another crack at the Maroons.
The front-rower even said he'd donate his match payments to charity but Gallen doesn't believe his Sharks teammate should be given the opportunity to step foot in the Origin cauldron in 2018.
"I've spoken to Andrew privately about it and I've said I don't agree with the chat that's going on at the moment and that's exactly what it is, chat," Gallen said. "I don't think he's going to get picked.
"You can't come out and say you're not going to play for NSW in game two but you want to play games one and three. It just doesn't work.
"I just don't think it can happen and I've told him that personally."
Fifita walked out of Australia's World Cup squad last year after deciding his heart was with Tonga (his father is of Tongan heritage) and while he wouldn't be breaking any rules by taking the field for NSW, the scenario just doesn't sit well with Gallen.
"For the life of me I can't understand why Andrew doesn't want to play for NSW. I can't for the life of me understand it," Gallen said.
"He's going to play a Test match at Campbelltown in front of maybe 10,000 people or play in the pinnacle of our sport, which is State of Origin.
"I can't understand that but I don't have a father of Tongan heritage, I don't have the passion to play for another country like he does.
"Andrew's probably the form front-rower of the competition at the moment but he said at the start of the season he wants to play for Tonga and as much as he's my mate, he's my teammate, I told him I don't think you can do what you're doing and I don't think they will pick you because of what you said you're going to do."
Former Blues coach Phil Gould was also in Gallen's corner.
"I can't ever imagine a Queenslander giving up his Origin jersey for anything," Gould said.
"I heard 'I' and 'me' 20 times (in Fifita's interview about wanting to play Origin). It's about him. He's made the decision to play for Tonga, go and do it."
NSW coach Brad Fittler initially said he wasn't planning to pick Fifita if he made himself unavailable for game two but he has left the door ajar for the 28-year-old to make an appearance during Origin, saying he isn't completely off the radar.
Fittler's Blues adviser, Penrith legend Greg Alexander, said last week he would counsel Fittler to pick Fifita if it was possible because the prop is in irresistible form.