You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Blues to gamble on Bird at dummy-half

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 27/05/2017 Steve Zemek

He's one of the most unflappable and versatile young stars of the NRL but can Jack Bird perform in the State of Origin arena in a position he's never played?

The answer could have some significant implications in the home stretch of Wednesday's series opener at Suncorp Stadium with NSW set to gamble on the Cronulla young gun for a stint at hooker.

While Nathan Peats will start the match at rake and said he was preparing to play a full 80 minutes, Bird has spent several training sessions with NSW in the role, suggesting he may get a run in the position.

Bird has excelled at almost everything he's done during his short NRL career, however he remains an unknown quantity at dummy-half.

"I haven't played there, that's probably the only position I haven't played," Bird said.

"That and front-row.

"If I have to play there, I will. I'm not sure how good I am there."

Bird was selected on the Blues bench due to his ability to cover almost every position including the halves, fullback, centre, wing and second-row.

The 22-year-old has proven versatile and has been fazed by little since coming into grade, winning the Dally M rookie of the year award in 2015 after making a surprise switch to five-eighth.

However even he admitted to some nerves about playing dummy-half.

"I haven't spent too much time there but I'm guessing that's all you do, give your halves the ball and give the forwards the ball when they want it," Bird said.

"I guess it is pretty simple. But it's probably the hardest position."

Bird said Daley's plan for him was to slot into the back-row but knew that could be thrown out the window with an injury.

He said while he hadn't spent much time defending in the middle, he would be comfortable doing so should he be pushed into the forwards or dummy-half.

Prop Aaron Woods backed Bird to turn the match wherever he was asked to play, describing him as a big-game player.

"A lot of people might say he's arrogant and cocky but I think he's just confident," Woods said.

"He just backs his own ability. He's a player you love to play with but hate to play against. When he came on in Origin II (last year) it just felt like the energy went up and the tempo of the game went up. If he can just bring that Wednesday, it'll be a massive boost for us."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon