18 hours ago
Bird keen to combine with Gidley for NSW
Australian five-eighth Greg Bird has called on NSW selectors to hand Kurt Gidley a starting role for the opening State of Origin clash, declaring his desire to form a lethal halves combination with the Newcastle utility.
Bird and Gidley are expected to be named five-eighth and halfback when the NSW team is announced on Tuesday as the Blues fight for redemption under new coach Craig Bellamy after Queensland won successive series titles.
Cronulla star Bird said NSW should embrace Gidley's ability to change a game, comparing his tryscoring ability to that of Queensland "freak" Greg Inglis who scored one of the tries of the century in Australia's 28-12 win over New Zealand on Friday night.
"(Gidley) is another one of those players that can make something happen out of nothing," said Bird.
"He might not be a traditional halfback, but State of Origin is not traditional rugby league.
"It is a different game and it could suit him and us down to the ground."
Gidley played off the bench in both his NSW appearances last year and was again limited to interchange player in Australia's win over the Kiwis at the SCG on Friday night.
Brought on in just the 62nd minute, Gidley had no chance to impose himself on the contest and given his superb NRL form it would be a mistake for NSW selectors to leave his match-winning talents sitting on the bench in the May 21 Origin I clash at ANZ Stadium.
Gidley is adamant his time has come to step up to a starting role at Origin level.
"I've always said the next progression from being a utility player is to get in the starting team so that is hopefully what I can do," said Gidley.
Gidley admitted frustration at being sidelined for so long in the Centenary Test and spent most of his time warming up enthusiastically to try and convince coach Ricky Stuart to thrust him into the contest sooner.
"From the first minute of the game I would like to get on there," he said.
"I've been playing 80 minutes every week but when you come into these sort of teams in the utility role if someone doesn't get injured or that sort of thing you have to bide your time on the sideline and be ready when you do go on.
"I was trying to show I was pretty interested, but it is hard to get some of the boys off when they're in the groove out there and right amongst it.
"I would be doing the same thing, I wouldn't want to come off."