Dumped Test forward Greg Bird hopes to vent his frustration against Melbourne in Sunday’s NRL clash on the Gold Coast.
Bird was denied Kangaroos redemption after being overlooked for next week’s trans-Tasman clash in Newcastle by new coach Mal Meninga.
The last time he donned the green and gold in 2015, Australia lost 26-12 to the Kiwis and Bird was booked for a lifting tackle that resulted in an eight-match ban.
He missed the entire 2015 State of Origin series as a result.
The 17-Test veteran believed he had a chance of making amends on the representative front in Friday night’s Test after already being guaranteed a NSW nod by Blues coach Laurie Daley.
Now, a gutted Bird has set his sights on giving Meninga a not-so-subtle reminder of what he has overlooked against Melbourne as Gold Coast look to snap a four-match losing run.
“It’s always disappointing,” Bird said of his Test omission.
“It’s always the highlight of my year, playing rep football and being involved in those sides.
“But I’ll just go back and keep trying to play my best for the Titans and, hopefully, when Origin comes around, I’ll get a look-in there.”
Bird hopes to inspire more physical dominance from an unlucky Titans who have slipped to 10th after losing four straight games by eight points or less.
“We have to play the same tough football but with a little more polish when attacking the line,” Bird said.
“We’ve shown patches where we have dominated physically (in past matches).
“We just haven’t been able to do it long enough.”
The Titans might welcome back No.7 Ashley Taylor and centre Nathan Davis.
Third-placed Melbourne – last round 42-0 winners over the Warriors – might lose flyers Marika Koroibete (ankle) and Young Tonumaipea (knee).
“They (Titans) have been the surprise packet of 2016,” Melbourne football director Frank Ponissi said.
“All the so-called experts had them down the bottom of the ladder but they have been competitive in every game.
“We know they are fitter and stronger. Matt Ford, who spent some time with us as high performance manager, has done a great job with them.
“And on their home track, I expect a tough game.”
KEY FACTS – TITANS V STORM:
* Melbourne are the only team this season yet to concede 20 points, have missed the fewest tackles (17.5 per game) and conceded the fewest line breaks (two per game)
* The Titans are busting the fewest tackles (17.3 per game)
* The Titans have won five of 15 matches against Melbourne, including two of their past 10