One of the NRL’s most suspended players – Greg Bird – knows he must be on his best behaviour if he wants to feature in a rare Gold Coast Titans finals campaign.
But it won’t stop Bird from trying to settle some old scores in the Titans’ NRL clash with leaders Cronulla on the Gold Coast on Monday night.
Bird returns from a one week ban for a high tackle – a penalty that placed him outright fourth on the NRL’s most suspended list with a grand total of 31 weeks on the sidelines.
Already banned twice this year alone, Bird admitted he could not afford to spend more time suspended with seventh-placed Gold Coast trying to book their first finals campaign since 2010.
“I have to walk on eggshells a little,” he said.
“But I will go out to play hard and tough.
“I try not to think about suspensions.
“Live by the sword, die by the sword.
“I like to play on a bit of emotion. If I get a bit fired up so be it.”
Certainly Bird won’t be curbing his natural aggression against former club Sharks who are on a club record 15-game winning run.
Bird will have Wade Graham in his sights after the Cronulla backrower squeezed him out of the NSW State of Origin team this year.
“You’ve got to give it to the young blokes when you can to show you have still go it,” said Bird who was dropped for Origin III this year.
Then there’s NRL master niggler and Sharks No.9 Mick Ennis who announced this week he would retire at season’s end.
“I have played with Mick since we were 15 up at Newcastle – I know all his tricks,” Bird laughed.
“But that’s the thing with Mick, you know what is coming but it still drives you mad.
“It’s a tactic he has used his whole career but he’s not all talk – he has got some good skill.”
Bird was wary of Cronulla trying to send Ennis out a winner by snapping their premiership drought this year.
But he is hopeful the Gold Coast make a statement of their own by bringing Cronulla’s record run to a shuddering halt on Monday night.
“Being his last season he will want to go out with a bang,” Bird said of Ennis.
“But we have a chance to stop their run.
“We may not have the names or the experience but hopefully they bring their best to what will be our biggest game of the year.”