Prince deserves an Origin jersey: Bird - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Prince deserves an Origin jersey: Bird

By Daniel Pace 28/05/2008 01:44:21 PM Comments (0)

Scott Prince has an unexpected ally as he presses his claims for a Queensland State of Origin jersey - NSW and Australian five-eighth Greg Bird.

The Queensland selectors have a tough choice to make in the halves for Origin II at Suncorp Stadium on June 11 after Karmichael Hunt and Johnathan Thurston failed to fire in the series opener, an 18-10 win to the Blues.

Hunt was superb in defence but the extra workload blunted his attacking prowess while an out-of-form Thurston played behind a beaten forward pack.

Gold Coast halfback Prince's best chance of adding to his three Origin caps earned in 2004 will come if champion five-eighth Darren Lockyer (knee) is unavailable because Thurston, despite playing well below his best, is unlikely to be axed.

But Cronulla lock Bird, who will line up against Prince in Sunday's NRL match at Toyota Park, believes it's time the Gold Coast co-captain was given a chance to prove himself as Queensland attempts to level the series at home.

"I think he's done everything over the last two seasons to warrant a spot (in the Queensland side)," Bird told AAP.

"He's come through in a tough era, there's that many Queensland halfbacks coming through of awesome quality.

"You've got (Cooper) Cronk, Thurston and the likes.

"I really think he's done enough to get picked but what the Queensland selectors do for Origin II is anyone's guess."

While arguing the Maroons would be more dangerous with Prince onboard, Bird warned the Blues would be foolish to underestimate Thurston's ability to bounce back.

"Thurston might be a little bit out of form but he's the sort of player that can turn a game," he said.

"He can make stuff happen when it doesn't look like there's anything on.

"You can't get too complacent about the way he's playing because he's that much of a talent, he'll carve you up."

Prince has racked up the most try-assists in the NRL and is also the competition's leading points scorer.

He showed against Wests Tigers last weekend that he's prepared to take on the defensive line and has the ability to score individual tries.

If Prince was given the nod to play against the Blues he'd likely take an organisational role, allowing Thurston to weave his magic out wide where he could provide quality ball to lethal outside backs Justin Hodges, Israel Folau and Greg Inglis.

The Cowboys contingent of Thurston, Carl Webb and Jacob Lillyman are under pressure following a lacklustre performance in Origin I but Lillyman is the only player expected to lose his spot in the squad.

New Zealand Warriors prop Steve Price is set to be rushed into the line-up with Webb relegated to the bench.

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