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Greg Bird makes a run against the Storm in Round 22.

Wins against Melbourne's 'big three' of Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater have been few and far between for Greg Bird throughout his career.

At club level he has defeated a Melbourne team with at least one of the Storm's best players only four times from 14 games and his Origin record against the Queenslanders reads six wins and 10 losses.


So when he was handed the opportunity to inflict a rare loss at home with a contentious penalty goal in the final minute of play two years ago, he revelled in every precious second, and then some.

The Titans play their sixth game at AAMI Park on Sunday evening and have only enjoyed success once before, in Round 5, 2014.

Having led for the majority of the game the visitors looked as though they would be run down by the clinical Storm team before a penalty against Ryan Hinchcliffe for a strip on Luke Douglas gave the Titans one last shot at glory.

In commentary the penalty was described as being 38 metres from the Storm try-line but replays suggest that Bird was inside 35 metres when he put boot to ball.

"I may have crept forward a little bit but I remember it being about 48 metres," Bird joked.

"I think 'Smithy' was standing very close and was pointing from memory but I just lined it up and potted it over."

Deputising for the injured Aidan Sezer and with a record of 17 goals from 27 previous attempts in the NRL prior to taking the shot at penalty, Bird blocked out some earlier missed shots at goals to nail it right down the centre.

"I actually wasn't hitting them that well that day. I had a couple from the sideline that I sprayed so some might say that my form was bad but I thought I was due to hit one good," he says.

But that wasn't where the antagonism between Bird and the 'big three' finished.

At full-time Slater could be seen remonstrating with Bird – "That sounds like something Bill would do" – and then Bird can be seen following Cronk down the line of players after the pair had shaken hands.

Shortly after full-time Bird had a dig at Cronk with an Instagram post hailing that "every sinew in my body came together in one perfect whole" but said their words on full-time had nothing to do with the match-winning penalty.

"He was a bit upset about a late hit I got him off a scrum and I don't think he wanted to talk to me," Bird told

"That was what that was about and then I was giving it to him a little bit, as I do.

"We're all good mates. We've played together for years now so I've got a lot of respect for those guys."

Bird's competitive streak has been known to upset plenty of opposition players over the years but it will be critical if the Titans can follow up their Round 1 win over the Knights by upsetting one of the competition fancies on their home turf.

They can't allow the Storm to dictate the pace of the game as they did against the Dragons last Monday and Titans captain Nathan Friend sees Bird as a key ingredient in upsetting Melbourne's rhythm.

"I don't think it's a conflict with Melbourne, that's just 'Birdy' and his nature and his competitiveness," Friend said.

"That's why he's such a great athlete and why he's great for us. He's got that do-or-die attitude and that's what we love about him.

"We just need to be moving the ball a little bit. We can't be running one-out because they'll take advantage of that.

"They're a team that puts numbers in tackles so if we can run with a bit of support, good leg drive and try to get a quick play-the-ball they might not have as much dominance as they can have on a game."

Of course, the chief architect of many of Melbourne's wins is their calculating captain Cameron Smith.

Smith's calm sets the tone for the entire Storm team and even the abrasive Bird admits he has given up on trying to find ways to put him off.

"I don't think you can get Cam angry and I don't think me in particular can get him angry," he said.

"I've pretty much tried everything before.

"You can rough him up but he'd probably see that coming and I think it would probably make him even more focused if you did that.

"I'm sure a lot of people have tried over the years but yet to really see it (Smith lose his cool).

"We've got a game-plan that I'm confident will work, certain things that we've done down there in the past but I won't be saying it out loud until after the game."

If it's successful, the 'big three' might be the first to hear about it.

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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