Bird de­ter­mined to turn back the clock on Lock­yer

Townsville Bulletin - - Game On -

GOLD Coast coach John Cartwright is hop­ing renowned en­forcer Greg Bird can re­peat his 2007 State of Ori­gin hero­ics against Dar­ren Lock­yer in tonight’s NRL derby.

There are few more in­tim­i­dat­ing sights in the NRL than Bird at his ag­gres­sive best. His timely shift from dam­ag­ing back-rower to tor­ment­ing five-eighth with the Ti­tans star­ing at a 0-3 start to 2011, in­di­cates they plan to make it a phys­i­cal night for Bris­bane.

Bird has ex­pe­ri­enced de­feat in his only two meet­ings when up against Lock­yer at five-eighth, both with the Ti­tans last sea­son.

But he took man-of-the-match hon­ours when the pair shaped up in the third game of the 2007 Ori­gin se­ries at Lang Park when he wore the No. 6 for NSW.

Cartwright’s de­ci­sion to re­unite Bird and half­back Scott Prince fol­lows last week’s em­bar­rass­ing 40-12 loss to Mel­bourne.

Bird has part­nered Prince in the halves 11 times for six wins.

‘‘ Changes needed to be made af­ter the first two rounds, we couldn’t let it keep slip­ping, we had to ad­dress it,’’ Cartwright said.

‘‘ We haven’t been in this po­si­tion ( last on the lad­der) in our four years so it’s new to us. You can cop los­ing games but some­times it’s the way you lose them – which is what hurt so much last week­end.’’

Prince felt hav­ing Bird back be­side him was a pos­i­tive move.

‘‘ The thing for me this week is to get my own back­yard in or­der, I was very dis­ap­pointed in the way I played ( against Mel­bourne),’’ Prince said.

‘‘ The changes we’ve made – I feel for the guys who have missed out – but we’re inch­ing close to a game we have to win to get the mon­key off our back.’’

Bris­bane coach An­thony Grif­fin played down con­cerns Bird would go gun­ning for Lock­yer.

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