Bird's return a timely boost for Titans
Greg Bird will be rushed back into the Gold Coast team this weekend in Newcastle as the Titans try to bounce back from a 38-6 loss to Manly that coach Neil Henry described as their worst performance of the year.
The final scoreline was not quite as lopsided as their Round 2 capitulation to the Panthers in Bathurst but after making two errors inside their own 10-metre line in the first seven minutes on Monday night they were never in the contest.
Having started Round 15 inside the Telstra Premiership top eight at the end of Round 18 the Titans are in 14th position and four points adrift of eighth spot.
Manly's 32-point win allowed them to leapfrog the Titans and climb one rung further up the ladder with Gold Coast's next assignment against the bottom-placed Knights on Saturday.
While Henry conceded that their attitude was poor against the Sea Eagles, the Titans have been battling for the past month without the presence of Bird, Kane Elgey and Aidan Sezer in particular.
Bird hasn't played since copping an eight-game ban for a dangerous throw whilst playing for the Kangaroos back in May and will come straight into the team when it is announced on Tuesday afternoon.
"'Birdy' will be back next week too and he'll be a welcome addition," said Henry. "Bit of experience out there, throw him in the team.
"That's our poorest performance of the year. You've got to go back to Carrington Park against Penrith in Round 2 where at half-time we were in the game; we weren't in it today after 15 minutes. Attitude wasn't there to get into a contest and thoroughly outplayed.
"We had a lot to play for tonight – both sides did given the situation with the ladder – and we've just made it a little bit harder for ourselves now and on a short turnaround against Newcastle who are an equally desperate side.
"It's going to be a good test of our character how we respond to that."
Titans back-rower Ryan James said the inclusion of Bird was not only a boost for his contribution as an individual but also the effect he has on his teammates, and the opposition.
"Just his experience and what he brings to the team with his presence on the field as well," James said.
"Players don't really want to play against him and we want to play with him so he's one of the players you want to play with."
Captain Nate Myles will be sent for scans on Tuesday after hyper-extending his fingers in a tackle on Monday night while Elgey will be assessed for a potential return from an ankle injury once he completes some contact work this week.