Greg Bird has reported to camp and said his ankle feels good and will test it out on Friday according to a report on Fox Sports. If he pulls up well which seems highly likely, Boyd Cordner will be the player most likely to drop off an extended NSW bench when the final squad is decided over the weekend.
Cordner was picked primarily as insurance for Bird who suffered an ankle injury during their flogging at the hands of the Panthers last round. He has been in a moon boot since, and Cordner has been in the Coogee camp since being named to the 20-man squad on Sunday night.
There is still the slight chance that Cordner manages to make the bench even if Bird is right to go but Paul Gallen isn’t as backup prop Aaron Woods — who was underwhelming in Game Two — could be dropped. But that would mean the Blues would potentially start with three backrowers and Josh Reynolds off the bench unless they elect to utilise Trent Merrin in the front row off the bench, which is certainly a possibility but would be out of position given his superb form this year as a wide-running backrower.
Regardless of whether he makes it or not, he has done enough this season to warrant being mentioned as an Origin contender ahead of the likes of Tony Williams and Glenn Stewart, who were both among the first picked last year — while also leapfrogging fellow young gun Tariq Sims who has been touted as an sure thing at Origin level for a few years now, and certainly longer than they’ve been talking about Boyd in the same arena for.
He’ll be better for the experience as many players who make it this far generally are; an the experience that will certainly not be a wasted one either way.
From Fox Sports:
NSW back-rower Greg Bird admits he feared his hopes of facing Queensland in the State of Origin decider would be dashed after injuring his ankle in the Gold Coast’s defeat by Penrith on Saturday.
Bird reported for camp in Sydney on Monday wearing a moonboot and limping heavily but after being assessed by team doctor Nathan Gibbs he was given a 90 per cent chance of taking the field at ANZ Stadium on July 17.
Bird removed the protective boot for the first time on Tuesday for the Blues’ team photo and said he felt relief after hearing the prognosis from Gibbs and was now in a position to focus on toppling Queensland for the first time since 2005.
“It’s the first time I have really walked around with it off and it feels alright,” Bird said. “I got a heap of fluid pulled out of it last night and a bit of cortisone and it feels good so I’ll rest up for the next couple of days and have a jog on Friday.”