Bird Happy To Wait For Origin Debut
He may have come away with the points decision over New South Wales Origin incumbent and Bulldog Josh Morris in the Sharks' 20-18 win but Jack Bird isn't getting carried away.
Bird was one of the Sharks' best in their slender victory in his first opportunity to play since being overlooked for Origin I.
The 21-year-old told journalists post-game he set out to do his job and wasn't necessarily out to prove a point after being denied a State of Origin debut.
It's a performance coach Shane Flanagan will surely be hopeful of seeing replicated moving forward with the centre producing eight tackle breaks and three offloads.
Bird's Matt Gidley-esque flick pass to set up Valentine Holmes' 31st-minute try will be one for the season highlight reel as well.
"I knew I was coming up against a good centre there in Josh Morris. He's obviously played for New South Wales and Australia and I knew I would have to do my job against him," Bird said.
"I felt confident about that going out there so I'm certainly happy with my performance.
"Obviously I'm going to wait [for my Origin debut]," he added.
"I came up against Josh who obviously played Game One and if Loz sticks with him then good luck to them. If I don't get it then I'll just keep playing my best football for Cronulla and try and get there one day."
Ricky Leutele's try in the final 100 seconds of play to seal the Sharks' ninth-straight victory was something Bird described as "unbelievable".
The Sharks got off to a slow start – down 12-0 midway through the first half – but Bird said his confidence in his side's ability to clinch the result never wavered.
"It came down to the wire there. We went into the second half confident and they didn't score a point the entire half which was a pat on the back for us. We didn't give up there and we came away with the win as a result," Bird said.
"We're a tight bunch so each week we go out there knowing what needs to be done. We started off slow there coming off the bye, we're fresh though and it showed in the second half I think."
Bird said a place in the competition's top four had always been a goal for the Sharks in 2016 but not even he could predict they'd be sitting atop the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder midway through the season.
"We came into the season confident with the squad we had and maybe we didn't think that we were going to be number one. But we always had the confidence we'd be in the top four," Bird said.
"Top four was our main goal until the end of the [regular] season so we're in a good spot. We just need to keep chipping away, keep getting the wins and hopefully we finish first at the end of the season."
This article first appeared on NRL.com
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