Greg Bird is desperate to repay the loyalty shown to him by NSW coach Laurie Daley, after the Gold Coast enforcer was rushed back into the Blues State of Origin side after serving a series-long suspension last year.
Bird’s absence hurt the Blues as they failed to defend their drought-breaking series win in 2014.
Daley had no hesitation this time around picking Bird, 31, who has played 15 Origin games since 2007.
After watching NSW’s humiliating capitulation in the series decider last season from the couch, Bird can’t wait to get back out there.
“I want to repay Loz for showing faith in me and putting me back into the side,” Bird said.
“There’s a lot of new faces in this squad that weren’t there last year and a lot of blokes that were there last year that missed out.
“So for me to slip back into the squad in the position of others I’m very honoured and privileged. But at the same time I’ve got a duty to repay those that showed faith in me.”
Daley has dumped Will Hopoate, Josh Morris, Mitchell Pearce, Trent Hodkinson, Michael Ennis, Beau Scott, Ryan Hoffman and Trent Merrin from the Blues side that was belted 52-6 in game three last season at Suncorp Stadium.
As always Bird says he will fight fire with fire when it comes to the battle up front.
“They’ve got young blokes like (Matt) Gillett, (Josh) McGuire playing an aggressive style of football,” he said.
“We will be thereabouts in the middle with our boys and I’m confident they can do a good job. Especially with blokes like (David) Klemmer coming off the bench.”