Bird aiming to fly high with Noddy - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bird aiming to fly high with Noddy

By Ian McCullough 04/05/2010 04:20:54 PM Comments (0)

Greg Bird has hit back at critics who say he is not attack-minded enough to be a NSW State of Origin five-eighth ahead of Friday's City versus Country clash.

Despite being named man of the match in two of his four appearances for the Blues, many believe Bird, who will line up alongside former Cronulla teammate Brett Kimmorley in the halves for Country at Port Macquarie, is better suited at lock instead of a playmaker role.

Selector Laurie Daley this week argued it would be an unlikely alliance for the opening match in Sydney later this month.

However 26-year-old Bird, whose form has picked up recently after a slow start to his Gold Coast career, believes he and Kimmorley have what it takes to help NSW end Queensland's dominance.

"People can have their opinions but I don't think I have to prove myself at this level, I have been named man of the match twice and showed what I can do," Bird told AAP.

"Five-eighth is my favoured position but if I am asked to play for NSW then I am happy to play wherever they want me to."

After a nightmare 2009 in which he was released from his contract with the Sharks and standing trial for two separate incidents that included reckless wounding charges against his girlfriend and assaulting a female in a Sydney hotel, Bird has got his life back on track after both cases were dismissed.

And he credits his short stint in France with Super League side Catalans, before signing for the Titans with helping him get back to the NRL and giving him the chance to regain his Origin spot.

"With all the legal stuff going on last year it was obviously a bad time for me so to get away and play footy over in France was a good way to not only get away from it, but let me concentrate on playing again," he said.

"The uncertainty was difficult, but being able to play with Catalans helped me stay sharp and although my form with the Titans was not great at the start of the season, it would have been a lot harder for me to get back to my best had I missed a year."

There has also been criticism about Kimmorley's form and whether or not he can rise to the levels he reached in the final State of Origin clash in Brisbane last year, where he helped the Blues prevent a first Queensland whitewash since 1995.

However, his old teammate believes that the 33-year-old is still good enough to keep his spot at halfback.

"Noddy is so easy to play alongside, he is such a great pivot and as the incumbent halfback he will want to make sure he is in the mix for selection," Bird said.

"I know there are a lot of good young halves out there looking to take his spot, (but) it is up (to) us to show on Friday that we can do a job and hopefully impress the selectors."

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