Gallen backs Bird to replace Lockyer

Australian backrower Paul Gallen says his Cronulla teammate Greg Bird is more than capable of filling Darren Lockyer's five-eighth position in Friday's Centenary Test against New Zealand.

Lockyer was ruled out with a knee injury last night and Bird has been shifted into No.6 with Melbourne's Michael Crocker added to the bench.

It is not the first time Bird has played five-eighth for the Kangaroos, having claimed man-of-the-match honours when Australia thumped the Kiwis 58-0 last year.

Gallen said Bird also starred in the No.6 jumper when called into the NSW team last year, so was a proven performer as a playmaker.

"I think he played two rep games at five-eighth last year and he was man-of-the-match in both of them," said Gallen.

"He'll have no troubles there on Friday night."

Australia will train Monday afternoon as they begin preparations for the clash at the SCG.

The teams came face to face on Monday for a commemorative photograph taken in front of the SCG members stand.

Kiwis star Sonny Bill Williams has urged his players to use their brains and not their braun to overcome the star-studded Kangaroos line-up.

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