SYDNEY - NSW enforcer Greg Bird has tipped rookie centre Josh Dugan to crack open State of Origin for the Blues and to help finally end Queensland's interstate dominance.
After just two NRL games in the position, Dugan was named at right centre in place of the injured Josh Morris for next Wednesday's return Origin fixture at ANZ Stadium.
Dugan warmed into the spot with a hat-trick for St George Illawarra against Cronulla on the weekend, and Bird, who returns to the NSW side following suspension for Game I, says Dugan shapes as NSW's X-factor even though he has arguably the toughest Origin assignment possible - marking Greg Inglis.
"Dugan is someone that is going to be a little bit different and he has got potentially to show what he has got at centre," Bird said.
"He has been OK there at St George the last couple of weeks but like everyone says this is a massive step up and I think he is definitely capable.
"He has done it at fullback, he has excelled in rep games before.