Bird eager to reach full flight for All Stars
One day down and 38 more to go - that's the challenge ahead for Jetstar Titans utility Greg Bird as he prepares for battle in the lead-up to the second Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars match at Skilled Park on February 12. <br><br> Bird returned for his first gruelling hit out with Jetstar Titans team mates at Robina on Tuesday, after being granted some time off to recharge following Australia's disappointing Four Nations loss to New Zealand in November. <br><br> With just over a month to prepare before he joins Jetstar Titans teammates Preston Campbell, Scott Prince and Ryan James in the Indigenous All Stars jersey for the second time, Bird is under no illusions as to the hard yards that lie ahead. <br><br> "It is nothing like a trial match and you have to be prepared for that, it is pretty much a 100 miles an hour as soon as you are out on that field," said Bird. <br><br> Greeted by 1500m time trials in the searing Gold Coast summer heat, Bird found the return to the training paddock a tough one but didn't expect it to take too long to get back into the swing of things. <br><br> "It doesn’t matter if it is in January or the start of November, it (the first session back) is always going to be a tough session, (but) it is in the bag now and we move on from there,'' he said. <br><br> “It was a good break and if it was any longer it would start to cut into your preparations for the 2011 season. <br><br> “I have a lot of hard work to do but I suppose I have been doing it for a few years now and it only takes a couple of weeks to get back into that rhythm.” <br><br> Bird was a late call up in the Inaugural All Stars clash at the beginning of last year when Penrith player Daine Laurie withdrew through injury, but his outstanding form since then has seen him rewarded with instant selection this time around. <br><br> With the Indigenous All Stars 20 man squad finalised, the attention is now turned over to the NRL All Stars which is in Stage Two of voting, after getting underway yesterday and remains open until 11:59pm AEDT on January 27. <br><br> A shortlist of 64 players must be reduced to just 16, with fans required to include one player from each NRL club in their selections and take into account Wayne Bennett’s positioning guidelines. <br><br> Titans fans will face the tough choice between William Zillman, Mark Minichiello, Kevin Gordon and Ashley Harrison.