Life at the Gold Coast may have been hard to stomach lately but Titans enforcer Greg Bird insists he is not leaving the NRL club any time soon.
Bird admitted he had found it tough to watch from the sidelines ahead of his return from an eight-week NRL ban at Newcastle on Saturday.
Since being found guilty of a dangerous throw in May’s trans-Tasman Test loss, Bird has watched his Titans’ finals fortunes fade and missed his beloved NSW’s entire ill-fated State of Origin campaign.
However, Bird said he would see out his remaining two years at the Gold Coast, finally ending speculation linking him to good mate Ricky Stuart’s Canberra.
“There has been speculation I am leaving the Gold Coast since 2010 when I first came here,” said Bird as he prepared for his first NRL game since round eight.
“First I was going to Parramatta with Ricky (Stuart), now I am going to Canberra with Ricky.
“I was going to Cronulla, going to Manly, going to Newcastle.
“Mate, I have got another two years on the Gold Coast so hopefully I am not going anywhere.”
Bird said he done plenty of thinking during his time on the sidelines – but it had nothing to do with linking with a rival club.
“It (the ban) was more like 10 weeks with the two byes in there,” he said.
“It has definitely been a tough period … watching the entire Origin series … and the Titans have had a bit of a dry spell as well.
“The thoughts run through your head – ‘what could I have done if I was there?’
“Not that I think I could have done anything in game three of Origin (won 52-6 by Queensland).”
Gold Coast won four of five games before Bird was banned.
The 14th placed Titans (6-10 record) have won just two of eight since.
They line up against an equally desperate Knights (5-11) on Saturday in a clash that may determine their finals fate.
Test forward Bird hoped he made a difference in a starting pack that will also boast captain Nate Myles, Beau Falloon, Luke Douglas, Ryan James and Dave Taylor together for the first time since round four.
“The blokes have their heads down but it is definitely an area where seniority can help,” Bird said.
Bird’s first challenge will be curbing his on-field aggression in light of the lifting tackle ban.
“Lifting tackles aren’t intentional. We are not in the ’80s any more – they are accidents,” he said.
“You have to really be careful with those tackles now.
“Every week someone gets done for one.
“It’s hard. (So I will have to) tackle over the ball and don’t worry about the legs.”