Uncertain Gallen to make retirement call 'soon'
CRONULLA skipper Paul Gallen is close to deciding whether to play on for a record 19th NRL season next year.
The Sharks ironman, the NRL's oldest player, will blow out 37 birthday candles on Tuesday as he contemplates his future.
"I have to make a call soon. It's come to the point now where it needs to be done, I need to make a decision," Gallen told the Nine Network.
"I've got two home games left if I'm going to retire.
"I don't know what to do."
Gallen said he had discussed his future with Shane Flanagan previously and the Sharks coach would play a big role in the final outcome.
"I'll be guided a lot by Flanno this week," he said.
"We spoke about it months and months ago and we just left it there.
"It's snuck up on us pretty quickly with the way the year has gone - it's been about the team more and we haven't worried about it.
"But it's got to be made and it's a tough decision."
Gallen, who led the Sharks to their first and only premiership in 2016, believes he is still contributing on the field and has the hunger and passion to continue.
"People keep telling me you'll know when you'll want to retire," he said.
"I don't feel like I'm ready to retire yet but I'll be guided by Flanno."
Should he decide to hang up the boots, Sunday week's clash with Newcastle would be his final game at Southern Cross Group Stadium and the club would want to pay a fitting tribute.
"He's the best player I've ever had at the club," Flanagan said.
"He's the hardest-working and he's up there with the ETs (Andrew Ettingshausen) and the Steve Rogers.
"I'm not putting many in front of him. He's the captain of our first premiership."