Greg Bird joins NRL’s most suspended
Greg Bird has joined the undesirable ranks of the NRL’s most suspended players, after copping an eight-game ban at the judiciary.
The NSW and Gold Coast enforcer was suspended until mid-July for his lifting tackle on Kiwi winger Jason Nightingale in the Kangaroos’ Test loss on Sunday.
The ban means he will miss the entire State of Origin series.
Bird pleaded guilty to a dangerous throw but went to the judiciary to challenge the grade two grading, which was upheld by the judiciary panel of Chris McKenna, Bronson Harrison and Mal Cochrane.
Since his NRL debut in 2002, Bird has now been outed for a total of 29 matches, making him the fourth most suspended player since the NRL was formed in 1998.
Bad boy John Hopoate holds the dubious honour of the NRL’s most suspended, with a massive 45 weeks, followed by Luke O’Donnell and Craig Smith with 32 weeks.
Danny Williams rounds out the top five with 28 weeks.
Steve Matai is another currently-serving player with a considerable judiciary record.
Currently suspended, the Manly star has earned a total of 23 weeks on the sideline.
Bird declined to comment after the hearing, leaving Titans coach Neil Henry to express his disappointment.
“Obviously we are very disappointed in the outcome,” Henry said.
“We thought we made a strong case for a downgrade – grade two to grade one- and we thought we had evidence to prove that.
“Unfortunately that wasn’t the case with the judiciary.
“As a club we are very disappointed to lose the services of Greg for an extended period of time.”
Bird is next eligible to play for the Titans in the round 19 fixture against Newcastle at Hunter Stadium.
MOST SUSPENDED PLAYERS SINCE THE NRL WAS FORMED IN 1998*
John Hopoate 45 weeks
Luke O’Donnell/Craig Smith 32 weeks
Greg Bird 29 weeks
Danny Williams 28 weeks
Jason Stevens/Adrian Morley 26 weeks
* Source: Fox Sports Stats
GREG BIRD’S SUSPENSIONS SINCE HIS NRL DEBUT IN 2002
2004: Striking – 10 matches
2004: Dangerous throw – 3 matches
2005: Dangerous throw – 2 matches
2011: Striking – 1 match
1014: Dangerous throw – 2 matches
2014: Dangerous throw – 2 matches
2014: Dangerous throw – 1 match
2015: Dangerous throw – 8 matches
*No bans resulted for Bird after judiciary appearances in 2003 and 2013.
** Source: Fox Sports Stats