State of Origin: Blues halfback Adam Reynolds is set to miss the rest of the NRL season with a shoulder injury picked up in Origin II.
GREG Bird has brushed aside Phil Gould’s swipe at the NSW leadership group, describing the comments as unfair and out of touch with the Blues’ inner-sanctum.
Gould’s polarising backhander in the wake of Wednesday night’s series loss to Queensland only added fuel to the firestorm of debate and opinion of how NSW coach Laurie Daley can restore pride into the Blues jumper ahead of game three in Sydney next month.
While avoiding singling out any individuals or going into great detail, it can only be assumed Gould was taking pot shots at senior figures including NSW captain Paul Gallen, hooker Robbie Farah and Bird when he said: “I’ve been astonished by the selfishness around this camp and around this team and in the leadership group,’’ Gould said on Channel Nine.
“I don’t think it’s allowed the team to evolve and have its own culture and chemistry.’’
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Bird, one of the Blues senior members — having played 18 Origins, second only to Gallen with 23 — was lost for words when asked by reporters after the loss in Brisbane what he thought of Gould’s comments.
“He said that, really?,’’ Bird said. “I think it’s unfair, but that’s coming from a mate (of Gallen’s).
“I know what he (Gallen) does. I know what he does behind the scenes, I know what he does on the training paddock.
“I reckon you could ask 17 other players that we’ve got in there (dressing room) and not one of them would say he’s a selfish leader. He’s our captain and I love him like a brother.’’
The Daily Telegraph has learned that Gallen was told by the NSW coaching staff that providing he remains fit and injury free, he will be named for the final time as skipper of the Blues for Origin on July 13.
Bird said he was hopeful Daley would stick with the majority of players who fell short of victory against the Maroons at Suncorp Stadium.
“Hopefully we’ll stay together,’’ Bird said.
“We’ve put a lot of work in together and hopefully we can go down there (Sydney) and turn those opportunities that we created, the last two games we’ve created opportunities for ourselves, but just weren’t able to capitalise.
“We’ll go down and give it everything we’ve got in front of our home crowd and hopefully send my little mate G-Train (Gallen) off on a game three victory.
“We wanted to keep the series alive, not just for our team, but everyone in NSW. And it was through no lack of effort, everyone can see that we gave it everything we got. But we just got outplayed.
“We’ve got to dust off the bruises and rip back in, in the next two weeks on the training paddock and hopefully execute when we get our opportunities in the game.’’