Maroons indecision won't temper Bird - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Maroons indecision won't temper Bird

By Steve Jancetic 09/06/2008 06:09:54 PM Comments (0)

NSW five-eighth Greg Bird has vowed to make life hell for his opposite number on Wednesday night's Origin II - no matter who the Maroons run out in the No.6 jumper.

As Queensland toy with the idea of rekindling the failed game one partnership of Karmichael Hunt at pivot and Johnathan Thurston at halfback as they look to keep the series alive, Bird claimed the indecision would have little impact on the Blues thinking.

Hunt has been named on the bench with Scott Prince coming into the side to replace injured skipper Darren Lockyer, but the Blues privately believe the two will be switched in a bid to give the home side more starch in defence early in the game.

Queensland officials fear notoriously suspect defender Prince could be targeted by wide-running forwards, with NSW's desire to punish the opposition halves in defence having worked a treat in the past two Origin clashes.

Having initially claimed they would give Lockyer a torrid workout in his Origin return, Bird said the same would apply for whichever of Hunt, Prince or Thurston lined up there.

"If you make them do a fair bit of defence it takes away a little bit of energy in attack and they're less dangerous with the ball," Bird said.

"(Prince and Lockyer are) both pretty attacking players and both probably not the best defensive players, not much really changes to be honest.

"We only played the Titans a couple of weeks ago, so I've done a fair bit of video on Princey recently."

Prince had a self proclaimed shocker against the Sharks in round 12 as his Gold Coast side went down 30-14.

Bird and Cronulla and NSW teammate Paul Gallen physically terrorised the in-form playmaker into a poor game, and it's something they've been able to replicate in the Origin arena.

In last year's third game, Lockyer missed 13 tackles on route to making a whopping 26 for the game while Thurston missed six and made 12 as the Maroons lost 18-4.

It was a similar story in game one this year, Thurston forced to make 24 tackles (three misses) and Hunt 17 (seven missed).

The tactic sucked the life out of Queensland's attack with Bird winning the man of the match award on both occasions.

And as he looks to emulate the great Wally Lewis as the only player to win a hattrick of man of the match awards (game three 1983-game two 1984), Bird said he would look make life as difficult as possible for his opposite number, whoever it was.

"It's rare that we'll actually be tackling each other, he runs his side and I run on my side," Bird said.

"I like to set myself a goal to try and be better than my opposite number, that doesn't always come into physical confrontation but overall I'd like to play better if I can."

As if the new Queensland No.6 needs any more pressure, history is also against him leading the Maroons victory.

Of the four games Lockyer has missed since making his Origin debut ten years ago, Queensland have managed only one win, back in 1999 when a Mat Rogers field goal handed them a 9-8 win in game one at Suncorp Stadium.

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