The representative career of fiery back-rower Greg Bird is almost certainly over after he was omitted by NSW for next week’s State of Origin III.
Bird was one of three players dropped by Blues selectors for the dead rubber at ANZ Stadium but while Dylan Walker and Matt Moylan have time to return to the Origin stage, 32-year-old Bird’s time appears to be up.
The axing by his state comes months after Bird was overlooked by Australia coach Mal Meninga for this year’s ANZAC Test against New Zealand in Newcastle.
The back-rower made 18 appearances for his state after debuting in 2007 but lost 12 of those fixtures during Queensland’s era of dominance in the interstate series.
Bird only tasted the joy of a series victory once in his Origin career, playing two of the Blues’ games in their drought-breaking 2014 campaign.
Gold Coast coach Neil Henry says no-one would be hurting more than his Titans veteran about the dumping.
“He’ll be disappointed because he’s passionate about representing NSW and you take every opportunity you can to do the job,” Henry said.
“He’s been very good for NSW for a long period of time.”
The news means the Titans have no representatives involved in this year’s final Origin clash, with Queensland forward Nate Myles leaving the club to join Manly at the end of 2015.
Henry says while Bird’s omission is a personal disappointment, it could be of benefit to his club team.
“Those guys don’t get breaks, they’re in camp but they don’t really get away from footy at any stage,” Henry said.
“We’ll take it … we certainly need him fit and firing.”
GREG BIRD’S REPRESENTATIVE CAREER
NSW COUNTRY (2007, 2010, 2012)
Games: 3 (1 win, 2 losses)
NSW (2007-08, 2010-14, 2016)
Games: 18 (6 wins, 12 losses)
* Part of 2014 series win
AUSTRALIA (2007-08, 2010, 2012-15)
Games: 17 (13 wins, 4 losses)
* Won 2013 World Cup