Gold Coast captaincy hopeful Greg Bird has played down the loss of James Roberts, describing it as a very, very small blip on the radar for the NRL battlers.
Roberts, the reigning Dally M centre of the year, is a free agent after his Titans contract forgery bungle and is being chased hard by Brisbane, South Sydney and St George Illawarra.
But Bird said the mood on the Gold Coast was still upbeat despite seeing one of the competition’s most-dynamic and damaging players slip through their fingers.
“Morale hasn’t dropped one bit,” said Bird.
“There has been a lot of media coverage around the club at the moment with everything that’s happened off the field.
“But as far as the team’s concerned and the players involved, who are turning up every day training, it’s a very, very small blip on the radar.
“I’m more worried about our trainer giving us a hiding and making us run up North Burleigh Hill than anything else at the moment.”
Bird said Titans players might have even become immune to off-field disasters, which have come thick and fast throughout 2015.
“It affects us a little bit, I guess. We’re disappointed to see one of our mates leave the club,” he said.
“But at the end of the day, it’s professional sport and players are moving on every week.
“Everyone who’s been playing football now with us for a while, this is not the first time it’s happened.
“You just move on. That’s the life of a first-grade footballer.”
Bird lashed out at Roberts earlier in the month, accusing him of using the forgery of his signature on a tweaked contract clause as a “scapegoat” to leave the club.
But there is clearly no bad blood between the pair – Bird even joked that he wanted to be roommates with Roberts come February, with the pair selected for the Indigenous side to play in the NRL All Stars pre-season clash in Brisbane.
Bird, who was stripped of the co-captaincy this time last year when he was fined for publicly urinating next to a police car, is angling to get his old title back following the departure of Nate Myles to Manly.