Former Titans player Greg Bird.
Former Titans player Greg Bird. MICHAEL CHAMBERS

Flying Bird makes the Titans so much better

APART from a grubby reputation triggered by continued grubby behaviour - on and off the field - Greg Bird shares a common trait with society's repeat offenders. He cannot accept he is a boofhead.

The overblown "I was dudded” whinge by Bird in the Sunday papers typifies why he - and many troublemakers in the NRL - are unwanted in the game. They never believe they have done anything wrong and their first reaction is to blame others.

In their minds, there is no accountability - not from them, anyway.

People will say Bird is not alone as an NRL bad boy. And they would be 100% correct in that assessment.

Ben Barba, for instance, recently dispatched to a rehab centre in Thailand, is another. And so is Todd Carney. They are repeat offenders bringing the game into disrepute ad nauseum.

The three have long rap sheets, although with Barba and Carney their misdemeanours have been off the field.

But Bird has all bases covered. It's almost a case of "you name it, he's done it”.

Since his NRL debut in 2002, Bird has been suspended for a total of 29 matches, the most recent an eight-game sentence in May last year for a spear tackle in the Anzac Test. He is the fourth most suspended player since the NRL was formed in 1998.

But his transgressions have not been just on the field and finally it all became too much for the NRL-owned Gold Coast Titans, who have unloaded him to ply his trade in France. It has almost been a case of think of a damaging headline related to the Titans since Bird joined them in 2010, and his name will be in the opening paragraph.

For most of the 2015 season he was front and centre in the cocaine scandal that threatened to destroy the club, although - in fairness - charges against him and many others were eventually thrown out of court. But the irreparable damage to the image of the club had already been done.

And who could forget Bird's memorable post-wedding incident in Byron Bay last December when he was charged with urinating on a police car? He was subsequently fined $15,000 by the Titans and stripped of the captaincy.

The bloke obviously loves celebrating an event, because at nearby Brunswick Heads in September he was again embroiled in controversy when involved in an incident - or two - during a teammate's bucks party.

And despite not being charged by police or found by the NRL Integrity Unit to have a case to answer, he had yet again heaped sludge on the Titans name and image.

Yet now, when moved on to the UK Super League for the second time in his career, Bird claims to be the victim. Shafted, in fact, was the word he used. In the weekend newspaper article Bird also danced with words such as honesty, respect and appreciation - the things he said the Titans did not show him.

What the Titans did show him was far too much tolerance. And if they win the 2017 NRL premiership without him, it will be because of him.



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