There is no doubt suspended Blues forward Wade Graham will be back on the Origin scene sooner rather than later, according to NSW stalwart Greg Bird.
Bird – who missed the entire 2015 Origin series due a lifting tackle in the May Trans Tasman Test – knows better than most the disappointment Graham will be feeling but said he had already thrown some encouragement the way of the Sharks back-rower.
"It's disappointing but at the end of the day you can't do anything about it. You've just got to get rid of it from your thoughts and just focus on enjoying his time while he's in camp and getting back here when he gets his next opportunity," Bird said.
"He's only a young fella and I'm confident this isn't going to be his last Blues camp. I've told him that, I told him that even before he went down there [to the judiciary on Wednesday night].
"I think he's in a pretty good head space now. He was pretty disappointed last night, I spoke to him last night straight after it but like I said he's got no control over it now and we've just got to move on."
The re-juggle following Graham's exclusion and Tyson Frizell's call-up will alter Bird's role, with the Titans lock set to start on an edge before Frizell is brought on and Bird moves to the middle once one of the other starters – such as Paul Gallen – gets a rest.
Bird said it was natural for Frizell to make his Origin debut from the pine.
"When you're at club you come into a club side on the bench and work your way into the starting line-up and I think the same thing happens in an Origin situation," Bird said.
"I'm sure when he gets out there he's going to do a great job for us. Whether you're starting or on the bench most forwards are going to be sharing the load. I think I came off the bench in Game One and played just as many minutes as Gal who started.
"It's a juggling act with minutes but whether you start or not, as long as he goes out and puts his best foot forward that's all us as teammates and coaches can ask from him."
Bird also wasn't fazed that captain Paul Gallen had hardly trained over the first two days of camp after a huge game for the Sharks against the Cowboys on Monday night – the night before players flew up to Camp Coffs.
"I don't think he trains anymore!" Bird laughed, before backing Gallen to be fine for game day.
"That's pretty much what he does at Cronulla, I think he just waits for the captain's run on the last day then he pulls the jersey on and belts out 80 minutes. I think he's trying to bring that into Origin.
"He'll be right by the time the game comes around, he doesn't have to train, he's been here long enough."
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