Bird rejects talk of Titans departure
In the past 10 weeks as he has been suspended from playing Titans back-rower Greg Bird has been linked with a handful of other NRL clubs but ahead of his return to the team on Saturday insists he has no intention of leaving the Gold Coast.
The Titans' Round 19 opponents, the Newcastle Knights, are one of a host of teams supposedly linked with trying to lure Bird away from the Gold Coast, but as he prepares to play his first game for the club since Round 8 he suggested that speculation on his future was nothing new.
"There has been speculation that I've been leaving the Gold Coast since 2010 when I first came back," Bird said on Thursday.
"First I was going to Parramatta with Ricky [Stuart], now I'm going to Canberra with Ricky, I'm going to Cronulla, Manly, Newcastle... I've got another two years on the Gold Coast I don't think I'm going anywhere."
With their season hanging by a thread the return of Bird and also the likely availability of rookie halfback Kane Elgey could not be more timely for the Titans.
Coming off their worst ever home defeat on Monday night against Manly, a loss to the Knights on Saturday in Newcastle would necessitate the mathematicians to evaluate their chances of playing finals football this year.
Prior to Bird's suspension the Titans had won four of their past five games but have won just two of their past eight with their Test and Origin forward on the sidelines to be sitting in 14th position on the ladder.
"It's definitely been a tough period. The boys were on a bit of a roll at the Gold Coast before I got suspended and they've hit a bit of a dry spell now as well," said Bird, who will play his 208th NRL game against the team he played his junior football with.
"The thoughts go through your head as to what you could have done if you were there. The last couple of weeks we've been in games and we've been playing well and there have been flip-of-the-coin decisions that haven't gone our way and the blokes have got their head down.
"It's definitely one area that I think a bit of seniority can help, keeping everyone level headed and achieving their goals."
Captain Nate Myles, who declared himself a certain starter after having his fingers bent back painfully on Monday night, said although he welcomed the return of a senior member of a squad, Bird should not be relied upon to reverse their fortunes.
"He brings a lot to every side he plays in," Myles said. "We look forward to him coming back and having a lot of energy and boosting the boys but we're not expecting too much from Greg.
"He's been out for a while and match fitness is probably going to be the hardest thing for him to find but he's a pretty special dude so he'll manage to get some minutes out for us."