Bird backs Gallen to shine at prop - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bird backs Gallen to shine at prop

Ian McCullough 07/06/2011 12:38:18 PM Comments (0)

Greg Bird believes Paul Gallen has what it takes to dominate the Queensland front row when NSW try to level the State of Origin series in Sydney next week.

Gallen, who plays in the back-row for Cronulla, will start at prop in a controversial move by coach Ricky Stuart, who has only named two specialist front-rowers in his squad of 17 in Tim Mannah and Trent Merrin.

However, Bird, who played alongside Gallen at the Sharks for seven years has no doubt he can cope with his new role.

"Gal will be excited to get in there with the big boys, the style of football that he plays is not real different to a front-rower now," Bird told AAP.

"Sticky (Stuart) said yesterday that you have the edges and you have the locks in the middle now ... and I don't think Gal will care if he has eight or 10 on his back, he will play exactly the same as he does every week.

"I am not sure if he will get through 80 minutes in the front row, but the fact he plays 80 pretty much every week for the Sharks must help. In Trent and Tim we have two very agile, fast front-rowers to work with him and I am sure you will see a big game from Gal."

Bird admits living on the Gold Coast means he has to take plenty of stick from Queenslanders when the Blues lose, but the man who was awarded man of the match in two of his six appearances for the Blues, is desperate to win in Sydney and level the series.

"They are a great team, but Queenslanders love nothing more than beating NSW and I have had to cop it a few times over the last year when we lose, so it would be nice to go back next Thursday knowing we have put one other them," he said.

Bird also believes the character shown, albeit in defeat in Brisbane, has given the Blues the belief that they can stop the mighty Maroons side from sealing a record sixth straight series win.

"I think the gap is definitely closing, we feel we should have won up in Brisbane," he said.

"For me personally, how we played in game one gave me confidence in knowing we had the right men for the job, we defended really well in the first half and took our chances when we had them. But it still wasn't enough.

"We are so desperate to end Queensland's dominance. I think we took a lot of positives out of how we played up in Brisbane and there is no reason why we cannot win next week."

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