21st November 2017, 16:10 | englandrl
Rugby-League.com: First of all, congratulations on making the semi-final – just how hard did the PNG players hit in that game?
Luke Gale: We played them on Sunday and my body is still aching on Tuesday so that’s how hard they hit! Mark Percival was watching from the dug-out and he likened it to when sharks attack in the water and throw their prey up in the air!
Our kit man passed me my new shirt at half-time and I reminded him that I only take it at the end of the game. He quickly pointed out the state of my shirt which was ripped down one side which looked like I’d been attacked by a shark.
RL: When you made the break in the first half and most of the PNG side were running after you, what was going through your mind?
LG: I got going and quickly realised that they were going to catch me! Wayne backed me up after the game by saying that they had quick players so I’ll take that.
RL: After not making the starting 17 during the 2015 series against New Zealand, what did you say to yourself once it was all finished?
LG: After every year you set yourself new goals so getting in the squad in 2015 was a good achievement but after that you wanted to feature. Every set back you have, spurs you on to want it even more.
Wayne has backed me and I still want to progress with my performances – I don’t feel like I have hit my straps in this tournament just yet. I feel like I’m getting better each week and hopefully my best performance is yet to come.
RL: The squad was treated to a day at the races in Melbourne a few weeks ago – perfect day for you?
LG: I’d heard we were off to the races but when I found out which race it was and the event, I was so excited to see a horse called Winx.
Knowing that I was about to see history being made with Winx winning the main race for a third year in a row made it such a great day.
RL: You were sat next to one of your best mates (Wayne Bennett) on the flight over to Auckland – Did you catch a movie or play cards together?
LG: He was doing his video review of the PNG game so I’ve seen the footage a few times now!
We’d finished our meals on the plane and he asked if it was ok to put his rubbish on my tray because he wanted to continue with his work – no problem, Wayne. My tray is piled high at this point but I didn’t mind.
We then finished an ice lolly each and again asked if he could put the wrapper on my tray – no problem, Wayne. On these flights they like to give you a little chocolate as you’re getting close to the destination.
I was engrossed in a movie and placed my chocolate on my tray at the side of all our rubbish to save for later. Before I could say anything, Wayne reached over, asked if I wasn’t eating it, and ate the chocolate! He then followed it up with a question as to why I don’t like chocolate – I was saving it for later, Wayne!
It had gone past the point of trying to tell him I really wanted it. He makes us all laugh. He’s a great bloke and everyone loves him.
RL: You’re never without your headphones – what’s delivering the heat this week?
LG: I’m a big hip hop fan. I’ve been listening to the latest Future and Young Thug album.
Ryan Hall played some Stereophonics on the bus the other day so I’ve been listening to their greatest hits. He planted the seed!
RL: You recently got a bit of stick for having your girlfriend over to see you play – we think it was nice thing to do. What did you get up to on your time off?
LG: Kirby came over in time to see the Lebanon game. After that we stayed on in Sydney and Sam Burgess hooked us up with a nice hotel in Bondi. I’ve later found out that he added his own price on and made a bit himself. I’m hearing next time he stays there he gets it for free!
After that we flew to Perth to link up with the squad and whilst there visited Rottnest Island which was amazing. We biked around the whole island and saw some beautiful beaches. It was great to chill out for a few days with here.
I got plenty of stick for it and when I came back into camp all the boys clapped me into the room when I returned and announced they’d got a new player on tour!