Bird's disbelief at judiciary charges
New South Wales back-rower Greg Bird has urged Blues teammate Josh Reynolds to fight the Grade 2 Shoulder Charge levelled at him in the aftermath of Origin III on Wednesday night but conceded he himself will likely have to serve a two-week ban.
All told four players were charged by the match review committee following Queensland's dominant 32-8 victory with Reynolds' shoulder charge on Will Chambers in the 33rd minute the one to have the greatest repercussions.
Reynolds will miss the Bulldogs' next three games against the Storm, Wests Tigers and Cowboys if he takes the early guilty plea and risks a further week on the sidelines if he pleads not guilty at the judiciary. His only hope for a reduced sentence would be to challenge the grading at the judiciary, an avenue that proved fruitful for him in the wake of Game One and his tackle on Brent Tate.
With similar prior offences and additional loading, Bird's Grade 1 Dangerous Throw charge stemming from a tackle on fellow Titans co-captain Nate Myles in the 59th minute is likely to rule him out of Gold Coast's upcoming games against the Raiders and Knights while South Sydney's Ben Te'o will have to wait until Round 20 before lining up for the Rabbitohs after he was charged with making dangerous contact with a kicker.
Myles was also charged with a Grade 1 Dangerous Contact-Forearm but will escape suspension with an early guilty plea.
Along with the heavy defeat, the charges levelled against Bird and Reynolds served to bring the mood of celebration down in the Blues camp but Bird says the Blues five-eighth should definitely have his case heard.
"Joshy Reynolds, turned sideways, he wrapped his left arm. It's not like he flew up and hit him in the face with his shoulder," Bird said. "He held his ground, braced himself and tried to wrap the shoulder and bounced back and fell backwards and he gets three weeks for it! It's a bit ridiculous. Surely everyone can see that's ridiculous.
"He's a little bloke tackling a big bloke. He braced himself for the tackle and got bumped off. I didn't think there was any harm done in that. Dessie (Bulldogs coach Des Hasler) and the Bulldogs will be fighting that for sure.
"It's hard to contest a Grade 1. I'll go back and speak to 'Carty' (Titans coach John Cartwright) and Searley (Titans director Michael Searle) but we'll just have to see what happens. I'm sure Grubby's got a massive case to fight his because his is ridiculous."
In expressing his disappointment that he would not be available for his club side for the next fortnight, Bird was adamant that the very fabric that has made Origin so great over the past 25 years is in danger of being eroded if it is officiated in the same way as regular-season NRL fixtures.
"It's a different game, it should be different rules," said the veteran of 16 Origin matches for NSW.
"It has always been drummed up as the most physical, the most intense encounter in sport, why are the rules the same as every other game? It can't be any more physical or any more intense if it's going to be adjudicated the same way.
"You go out and put your body on the line, sometimes one person comes off second best and you get over it but you don't want to be missing club games for things that happen out here in a State of Origin match and vice versa, you shouldn't miss an Origin for anything that happens in a club match."
After the match Bird had a bag of ice strapped to the left side of his neck, the after-effects of his collision with Myles's forearm for which Myles was placed on report.
That incident came just moments after Bird's tackle on Myles for which he will almost certainly be suspended for and left the 195-game veteran scratching his head as to what now constitutes a good rugby league tackle.
"I got penalised five seconds before it for bending my back and driving a bloke... If someone can explain to me how I'm supposed to tackle... How am I supposed to tackle?" Bird asked. "I bend my back and I get penalised; I go high and I get accused of jumping into him and taking a dive. It's just stupid.
"These things happen in football, these things happen in rugby league. It's a contact sport. I don't expect to run out there and come off the field not being sore every game. It's a contact sport and that's why people love watching it. State of Origin football; play on, let's play football. Get over it.
"At the start of the year they said they were going to crack down after the Alex McKinnon situation and I think it's just gone too far."