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Bird says he's yet to fly

By Todd Balym 21/05/2008 11:35:08 PM Comments (0)

NSW star Greg Bird says he has yet to prove himself as a five-eighth in State of Origin football.

Two man of the match awards and two wins from as many games suggests otherwise.

Bird produced another standout display at pivot by leading the Blues to a 18-10 victory over Queensland at ANZ Stadium to claim a 1-0 series lead in a contest many considered would be dominated by the star-studded Maroons.

NSW utterly dominated the Maroons with rookie halfback Peter Wallace steering the side with his boot, and fellow debutants Anthony Quinn (two tries) and Anthony Laffranchi both scoring four-pointers that helped seal the four tries to two win.

But it was Bird who was handed the man of the match honours after the game, continuing his remarkable run of three best afield awards from four representative games at pivot.

He was best on ground in last year's Origin dead-rubber in Brisbane and on Test debut against New Zealand last year.

Despite his unbelievable record, the 24-year-old who plays lock at club level for Cronulla, says he's yet to achieve anything as a five-eighth.

There had been much pre-Origin discussion over Bird's selection at pivot ahead of Sydney Roosters star Braith Anasta, but even after silencing his doubters the confident Bird wasn't about to gloat.

"I don't think I've proven anything as yet," said Bird.

"It's only one game this year. We've got to go up there and do the same thing up there and in game three as well, then I suppose after that you can come and ask me the same question and I will tell you if I have earned the right to keep my spot."

Bird credited NSW's dominant forwards for having the chance to play his natural game after the Blues had full control of Queensland up the middle of the ruck.

While Wallace did most of the attacking in game play, Bird stood up when it counted most.

It was his pass which proved vital in putting Quinn over for his first try in the fourth minute and he was at it again when his well-timed cut-out pass for centre Mark Gasnier led to Laffranchi's try in the 68th minute to seal the win.

"We will say it was a set move, but I think it was just the freakishness of Gaz," said Bird.

"He can make something out of nothing."

Rookie winger Quinn was dumbfounded by his two-tries on debut.

"I think it was pretty much a blur," said Quinn.

"I remember the two tries so that's a good thing.

"I don't think you can get much better than that."

NSW will be hoping the 2008 series does get better than, wary of not repeating the mistakes of two years ago when Queensland fought back from an Origin I defeat to steal the series 2-1.

Bird is adamant the Blues have the spirit and commitment to go to Brisbane on June 11 and prove the victory was no fluke.

"It feels good now but the job is only half done," said Bird.

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