Cartwright looking for some Bird magic - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cartwright looking for some Bird magic

Wayne Heming 24/03/2011 07:54:49 PM Comments (0)

Gold Coast coach John Cartwright is hoping renowned enforcer Greg Bird can repeat his 2007 State of Origin heroics against Darren Lockyer in Friday night's NRL derby.

There are few more intimidating sights in the NRL than Bird at his aggressive best.

His timely shift from damaging back-rower to tormenting five-eighth with the Titans staring down a 0-3 start to 2011, indicates they plan to make it a physical night for Brisbane.

Bird has experienced defeat in his only two meetings when up against Lockyer at five-eighth, both with the Titans last season.

But he took man-of-the-match honours when the pair shaped up in the third game of the 2007 Origin series at Lang Park when he wore the No.6 for NSW.

And he backed it up with another man-of-the-match effort for the Blues, playing five-eighth in the opening game of 2008, drawing comparisons with Wally Lewis' Origin dominance.

Karmichael Hunt stood in for an injured Lockyer in that clash.

Cartwright's decision to re-unite Bird and halfback Scott Prince follows last week's embarrassing 40-12 loss to Melbourne.

Bird has partnered Prince in the halves 11 times for six wins.

"Changes needed to be made after the first two rounds, we couldn't let it keep slipping, we had to address it," said Cartwright.

"We haven't been in this position (last on the ladder) in our four years so it's new to us.

"You can cop losing games but sometimes it's the way you lose them - which is what hurt so much last weekend."

Prince said the derby was one every Titans player marked on their calender.

"It's the big brother, little brother scenario," he said.

"We want to give them some back and I'm sure they want to kick us when we're down."

Prince felt having Bird back beside him was a positive move to get back to the basics.

"The thing for me this week is to get my own backyard in order, I was very disappointed in the way I played (against Melbourne)," Prince said.

"The changes we've made - I feel for the guys who have missed out - but we're inching close to a game we have to win to get the monkey off our back."

Prince admits he has to get his kicking game right after being pressured in the first two matches.

"That's something I take ownership of and I've worked pretty hard on getting that right this week," he said.

Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin played down concerns Bird would go gunning for Lockyer when asked if Cartwright's switch was designed to "do a job" on the Broncos.

"I don't think so. They're like us, they've got players coming back, the core of their side are back in the team," he said on Thursday.

"They're pack with (Anthony) Laffranchi and (Mark) Minichiello, guys like that back is a bit more formidable."

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