STEP UP: Cronulla utility Jack Bird has been backed to play in the halves in Origin III.
STEP UP: Cronulla utility Jack Bird has been backed to play in the halves in Origin III. CRAIG GOLDING

NSW may look to untried option to replace Reynolds

BLUES veteran Greg Bird has backed a left-field option as Adam Reynolds’ replacement for State of Origin game three in Sydney.

With Reynolds (shoulder) likely to miss the clash at ANZ Stadium on July 13, Bird said Blues coach Laurie Daley could throw Cronulla utility Jack Bird into the role.

“He’s every chance, with the injury that Reyno picked up, of maybe slipping into a starting five-eighth role. That’s exactly what I did (early in my Origin career),” Greg Bird said.

“He plays with intensity, plays off the cuff, and plays what’s in front of him. That’s the sort of footballer you need in State of Origin.”

Daley has a massive decision on who should partner five-eighth James Maloney in the halves for game three.

Does he go back to Mitchell Pearce or Trent Hodkinson, or look to the future by playing the in-form Shark Chad Townsend, or one of Canberra’s talented playmakers, Blake Austin or Aidan Sezer?

Will he decide to go for that left-field option such as Jack Bird, or even throw Greg Bird in as the pivot with Maloney moving to halfback?

With the Blues at an all-time low, Reynolds’ injury is a headache the under-fire Daley can certainly do without.

“There are a lot of good five-eighths out there that want this position,” Greg Bird said.

“If I got chucked in at five-eighth ... I haven’t played it in a while but I think I can do it; there would be a lot of pressure on me.

“Jimmy (Maloney) tends to lead the team around. He does it pretty well.

“It would help me a lot if Jimmy was there but that’s up to Loz (Daley).

“He probably won’t go that way but we’ll just have to wait and see.”