NRL 2020: Cronulla great Paul Gallen willing to answer NZ Warriors SOS injury call

NRL great Paul Gallen would be willing to end his retirement to answer an SOS call from the injury-ravaged NZ Warriors.

The 38-year-old hung up his boots at the end of last season, but he's been moved by the "sacrifices" made by Warriors players and staff to ensure the integrity of the NRL's relaunch remains intact.

The New Zealand club is facing an injury crisis, particularly among the forwards, where they've lost Leeson Ah Mau, Jazz Tevaga, Bunty Afoa and Jackson Frei.

Frustrated club chief executive Cameron George revealed the NRL denied the Warriors a request to loan players from other clubs, but Gallen is prepared to step up on short notice.

"The sacrifices they've made, I would consider it," Gallen has told radio 2GB's Wide World of Sports programme.

"Look, I only retired last year. I was doing plenty of contact work in training with the [Cronulla] Sharkies up until two months ago.

"It's probably a long shot, but I would consider it."

The 2016 premiership-winning captain is just two appearances away from joining the 350-game club, which Gallen admits is a motivation for a return.

But he sympathises with the Warriors' frustrations with the league, given they can't just snap up a young reserve-grade player and any squad member they fly into Australia would have to undergo a 14-day quarantine period, before being allowed to play.

Gallen told 2GB that recently retired players like himself or players not linked to a club could be the Warriors' best bet.

"I think it is a little bit harsh," Gallen says. "But also I think it is dangerous to just go and give some of these better second-grade player to the Warriors.

"What happens if they get injured or their own club gets injuries, and they need to come up and play first grade? It's a real hard one.

"The Warriors have done such an amazing job to get over into Australia, [made] so many sacrifices to get this game again.

"You'd like to think we could help them out as much as possible."

In recent seasons, the Warriors have endeared themselves to the league community by paying tribute to retiring opponents like Gallen (and referees) after games, a custom that may now pay unexpected dividents in their hour of need. 

Former Queensland stars Sam Thaiday and Billy Slater have also hinted they would be willing to put the boots back on fof the Warriors need recruits on short notice.

The revamped competition kicks off on May 28, with the Warriors playing St George Dragons on May 30.

NRL 2020: Cronulla great Paul Gallen willing to answer NZ Warriors SOS injury call
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