Maloney laughs off Bird tackle
Following a fiery clash between the Titans and Sharks that saw three players leave the field concussed and two placed on report, there was unanimous agreement from both sides that the man in the middle of a lot of it – Greg Bird – shouldn't have a case to answer at the judiciary.
Clearly fired up for a battle at his old Cronulla stomping ground, Bird proved a headache for the Sharks in both a literal and metaphorical sense with some bone-rattling hits.
One of those – a heavy one on playmaker James Maloney in the 17th minute – left Bird on report and ended Maloney's match early due to concussion.
But with contact more around the shoulder and the concussion caused seemingly by a whiplash effect, Bird and his coach hoped he'd have no case to answer while Maloney brushed off the shot from a man he is good mates with off the field.
"Nah mate I knew I went right into the line," was Maloney's response when asked if the tackle was late.
"It is what it is, you need to wear that sometimes."
He insisted there were no hard feelings.
"No no no, none at all, I get on well with Birdy. I like the way he plays. It's just a shame to be on the wrong end of it," he added with a laugh.
Titans coach Neil Henry had a similar view.
"I thought he hit him in the shoulder and it was like a whiplash kind of thing," Henry said.
"I didn't see a point of contact at all. He's hit him pretty hard but I think it's just been a shoulder contact, that's what I made of it but I'll obviously have to see some angles on it, there's a couple of concussions out there for both teams."
Sharks skipper Paul Gallen – a close mate of Bird said at the time "it didn't look great" but cleared Bird of foul play.
"I don't think it was a shoulder charge or anything. You know Birdy, he flies close to the wind and he plays as hard as anyone in the game and he is bloody hard!
"He hits hard and tackles hard. Jimmy Maloney copped the brunt of it.
"I don't think he'll have much to answer for, to be honest. He plays hard, we all know that. I had a chat to him and he gave it to me! I told him I'd see him in a couple of weeks."
Bird also said he didn't think there was much in the tackle.
"He's a good ball-player, he takes the ball right into the line and every good ball-player knows if they do that they have a risk of getting hit when they pass it," Bird said.
"I don't think I hit him high, maybe got a little bit of whiplash."