Nothing to stop another niggle-fest: Bird

Blues enforcer Greg Bird says the current no-punching edict is allowing players to get away with more niggling tactics, meaning Origin III could go down the same path as Origin II.

He said the new rule has "definitely" made the game grubbier.

"I'd say it [Game III] will be quite similar. The fact that people’s hands are tied means that you've got free game," Bird said.

"If you get away with a cheap shot you can do it now because there are no repercussions coming other than a penalty from a ref. Most of the players these days know where the refs are standing and they can get away with it til after the game.  The only way people see it is in a replay. There's nothing you can really do about it."

Origin II came in for some criticism due to the slowness of the ruck and the excessive niggling tactics employed by both sides.

"There are no repercussions if someone does a face rake or a cheap elbow, something small like twisting the arm, any player can do it," Bird said.

He used the example of a cheeky face slap from Queensland half Johnathan Thurston on Blues back rower Beau Scott as something that probably wouldn't have happened under the old rules.

"You have halfbacks slapping back-rowers in the face. I asked Andrew Johns after the game and I was standing there with Gorden Tallis and asked if he would have slapped Tallis in face back in his day and he said ‘not a chance because he’d bash me’ but I would do it now because he wouldn’t be able to do anything. It’s people trying to get you off your game," Bird said.

"People used to niggle in their own little ways more with the mouth. Now they can do it physically."

He said whichever way the game goes, the side will be prepared.

"No-one knows what this game is going to turn out to be - if it’s going to be a grubby, grinding affair with a short 10 [metres] or they are going to open it up and we’ll be able to pass the ball around and play pretty football like the first half of Game I. Laurie [Daley] has tactics to work both styles of game. We’ll go from there."