Retired Parramatta and NSW legend Nathan Hindmarsh is tipping Greg Bird to stand up in the absence of Paul Gallen and deliver a match-winning performance in Origin III on Wednesday.
Hindmarsh, previewing game three on SportsFan Clubhouse alongside South Sydney and ex-Queensland forward Michael Crocker, says Bird has been quieter this year than in previous Origin series and will be out to make amends on the ANZ Stadium turf.
"I think with the absence of Gallen in this game, you'll see him step up," Hindmarsh said.
"He's a great Origin player. He's just been a bit quiet for mine and I'm sure he'll produce in game three. I think he'll grow an extra inch [without Gallen]."
Hindmarsh also believes the Blues must target Johnathan Thurston, sending big bodies to the Queensland playmaker to exploit his defence.
"I think we need to run a few more balls at Thurston," he said.
"I just think he wasn't doing enough [in Origin II]. If we do run a big guy at him, generally he's not the best defender close to his own line.
"If there is a weak link I think it will be JT close to their line."
Crocker, who admitted to being a big wrap for NSW inclusion Boyd Cordner, is tipping Matt Scott to be the difference against a very ominous Blues pack in game three.
"I think he's been a little bit quiet as well," Crocker said.
"He's just ready for one of those dominant performances where he has 20 runs and 200-odd metres.
"He can generally get a little line-bust and create something for one of the support players as well. I'm ready for him to really step up."