Paul Gallen has become somewhat of a cult hero ever since his performances in Origin last year. But after having studied archival footage, read books, news articles and comments about Arthur Beetson, I have come to the conclusion, that Gallen is a modern day Beetson.
Big call I know and one to incite a lot of anger amongst fans. And I would also like to point out that I'm saying this in full respect to both players.
Both men, personality wise have been known as being outspoken, controversial in their earlier days, and getting better with age, going against the trend of most forwards.
Then there are the little things on the field. This year has seen Gallen master the use of the hit and spin, a practice perfected by Beetson so much so that he became even harder than usual to stop.
The ability to turn 180 degrees in a tackle or hit up to allow easy passage for an offload, the positional skills of a centre when attacking the opponents try line, the ball skills of a five-eighth, the unselfishness of the play, the determination, the workload, the ticker, the toughness, the willingness to do the dirty work, the hard yards when no else would.
Most importantly, they inspire those around them not so much with words, but by their actions. They were feared, not just for their strength, but their relentlessness and their skill.
It's never easy to compare two players from vastly different era's, but by studying the small things that are relevant to both of their games; you can see just how similar they have become.
Beetson will always be regarded more highly and rightfully so. He was the man to reignite, transform and take the ball-playing forward role to a new height that changed the way future forwards played the game, although none ever managed to match him.
Last series saw the legend of Gallen in origin being born. This year he will show everyone that last year was no fluke and if anything, he is better this year.
And although Artie will be cheering on the Queenslander's as he always has, a part of him would be happy to see Gallen carrying on his form, because it's essentially a reminder of the way Beetson played.
It also shows that what Beetson did as a player wasn't just ahead of its time, it was revolutionary and it has taken until now to finally see a player performing at a similar level to that of Beetson.
That’s how good Gallen is.
That’s how good Beetson was.