Blues stars doubt Qld indigenous claim - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Blues stars doubt Qld indigenous claim

David Beniuk 12/06/2011 08:19:57 PM Comments (0)

Indigenous NSW stars Greg Bird and Jamie Soward have dismissed suggestions Queensland enjoy a tighter bond in State of Origin football partly because of the number of Aboriginal players in their side.

Bird lobbed a grenade into the Maroons camp, rubbishing the claim by pointing out indigenous Maroons centre Greg Inglis has roots on the NSW north coast.

Former Queensland player Tony Currie recently claimed the presence of indigenous stars like Johnathan Thurston, Inglis and Sam Thaiday added to the Maroons passion.

Last year as the Timana Tahu-Andrew Johns racism row raged, after Tahu's walkout from the Blues camp, it was suggested that Aboriginal players like Inglis believed they would be treated better by the Queensland set-up.

"I don't really think there's anything to that," Bird told AAP as the Blues attended a dinner with indigenous teenagers to aid the Learn, Earn, Legend! campaign.

"I think Greg Inglis is from Kempsey so he's just as much us as he is them."

Bird and Soward are the Blues' only Indigenous All Stars and the St George Illawarra five-eighth also backed the NSW side's strong bonds.

"They've got their own whatever they do up there (in Queensland) but I know this bond here, I feel very comfortable with this group of blokes and we saw our effort in game one how tight we were," Soward said.

"The bond in this whole Blues team is as strong as Queensland's."

Asked about he and Bird's own bond, Soward downplayed it.

"Me and Greg Bird are indigenous and we're in the NSW team," he said.

"We're two Kooris in the NSW team."

The Blues trained in an opposed session with a junior representative team on Sunday as they look to tweak their game-plan for Origin II at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday night.

Soward said his Origin initiation wouldn't radically change the way he approaches his second spot on rugby league's biggest stage.

"I'm still the same old person who is confident at the Dragons and I've just tried to bring that into NSW," he said.

"Steady was probably the word to best describe my performance but I think this time round I feel like I can help the team a little bit more in different ways and try and get my hands on the ball a bit earlier.

"I'll still be nervous and pumped up."

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