Bird honoured by Country selection
He's been the man on everyone's lips since making his NRL debut in Round 4 and he's no doubt been on the mind of New South Wales coach Laurie Daley, such has been the dramatic rise of Sharks utility Jack Bird.
While he has played four of his five NRL games at five-eighth, Bird was initially named on the bench for Trent Barrett's Country team, but with Knights lynchpin Jarrod Mullen ruled out earlier on Monday, the 20-year-old has been promoted to halfback to partner captain James Maloney in the halves to take on the might of the City team in Wagga Wagga on Sunday.
Bird said his promotion wasn't overwhelming, in another blow to the Dragons who let Cronulla's new star rookie slip through the cracks last year.
"I'm just taking it as it comes so I wouldn't say it's overwhelming but it's a real honour," Bird said while met by a large media scrum at the Country Origin medical.
"I'm pretty sure I was going to be used as a utility but coming off the bench to halfback is a big step while also being an honour too. I probably wasn't going to get many minutes off the bench but now I'm starting I'm going to try and do what I can.
"I've played a lot of positions in my career like centre, fullback, back row, five-eighth but I reckon I'm comfortable in the No.6. But if 'Baz' (Barrett) wants me to play halfback, I'll play halfback. I'm pretty happy filling in anywhere I guess."
Such has Bird's meteoric promotion to representative football been, the inevitable calls for him to be included in Daley's New South Wales team for Origin I on May 27 is a "big call" according to the man himself.
"I'm stoked I am even here but Origin is a big step for me," Bird said.
"I've only played five games of first grade and I'm getting chucked out there to play State of Origin which is a big call. I'm just happy to be named here.
"I didn't think I was a chance to play for Country and to be in the team is a real honour."
While the No.7 jumper has enough responsibilities in itself, Bird will also have to be mindful about coming up against his fellow Sharks named to play in the City Origin team.
With Wade Graham named skipper for Brad Fittler's team alongside Andrew Fifita's third cap for City, Bird will have to be on the lookout – though such is his calm and collective demeanour, the Berkley Eagles junior isn't fussed.
"All week Fifita has been talking about having 'no mates on the field'," Bird said. "That doesn't really bother me though."