BRISBANE - Even close friends questioned NSW skipper Paul Gallen's ability to lead the Blues to victory before the 2014 State of Origin series.
But Gallen hopes he and coach Laurie Daley have converted the Blues into true believers despite being denied their first Origin sweep in 14 years by Queensland's 32-8 game three win on Wednesday night.
The Blues were swamped by supporters when they held aloft the Origin trophy at a special welcome home ceremony at the Sydney Opera House hosted by NSW Premier Mike Baird yesterday.
But Gallen revealed it was not that long ago when even his mates failed to rally around him after Queensland romped to eight straight series wins.
"Speaking to friends they were asking 'how are you going to beat them?'," Gallen said.
"We were the biggest outsiders in Origin history, but we achieved our goal."
Gallen was dubbed "one of the greatest forwards" by Daley after collecting the Wally Lewis Medal as player of the series before triumphantly hoisting the Origin trophy post-match at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.
But Gallen denied he had been the inspiration to their drought-breaking 2-1 series win.
"As a captain you're an extension of your coach," he said.
"I spoke to Laurie last year and his passion for the Blues jumper and what he wanted to achieve was unbelievable.
"He spoke with such passion and to win it for him and the boys, and for the five million people in NSW, I'm so so proud to lead that and it's a great feeling."
Daley hoped Gallen's inspiration had helped convince the Blues they finally had the once-all-conquering Queensland's Origin measure.