State of Origin rivalries put aside by Kangaroos

LIAM FITZGIBBON
Last updated 16:49 26/11/2013
Greg Bird
Getty Images
DIFFERENCES ASIDE: Greg Bird taking to the field for New South Wales.

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Greg Bird says any State of Origin divide that existed among Kangaroos players at the World Cup has closed after eight long weeks on tour.

Amid suggestions a fierce rivalry still exists between Queensland and NSW players within the national team, Bird insists state allegiances will be far from the players' minds heading into Saturday's final against New Zealand.

The Blues enforcer said state rivalries were "joked about" among players but revealed it did take time for the squad to gel at the start of the campaign.

"We're all one unit now," Bird told AAP.

"At the start everyone's a little bit stand off-ish.

"You've still got those repercussions from Origin and everything that's gone down there but after we have been over here together for eight weeks, Origin is a distant memory.

"We're all playing for Australia now and we've bonded quite well."

Bird believes the strong history between the Kangaroos and Kiwis will ensure a strong collective passion from Australia's player at Old Trafford.

"There's been some tough battles over the years and I expect this to be no different," Bird said.

"I think they've got one of the best squads they've ever had, if not the best squad, and everyone of them is in career best form.

"They're never beaten we're going to have make sure we play a full 80 minutes to combat that."

Bird came off early in the semi-final win over Fiji with a corked leg but said he would be fully fit for the final.

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- AAP

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