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Greg Bird back in frame for Origin after charge downgraded

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Is Mitchell Pearce's penalty appropriate?

Phil Gould and Andrew Webster question if Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce's penalty is sufficient and discuss how it will affect his Origin selection.

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Greg Bird’s Origin hopes remain alive after the Gold Coast Titans back-rower successfully had his dangerous throw charge downgraded.

Bird was still suspended for two club games and will miss the opening Origin after being found guilty of a grade two dangerous throw at the NRL judiciary on Wednesday. The Origin match won’t count as part of Bird’s suspension.

I just dropped him: Titans skipper Greg Bird is back in the frame for Origin after having his lifting tackle charge downgraded.

I just dropped him: Titans skipper Greg Bird is back in the frame for Origin after having his lifting tackle charge downgraded. Photo: Getty Images

The ban will allow Bird – a guaranteed Blues selection - to play the two final games of the Origin series. Judiciary panel members Royce Ayliffe, Don McKinnon and Chris McKenna took 10 minutes to find Bird guilty of the lesser charge after he was cited with a grade-three dangerous-throw charge for a tackle on South Sydney winger Bryson Goodwin in Gold Coast’s 40-12 defeat on Saturday night.

Bird was represented by former NRL judiciary chairman Jim Hall. Bird said he had attempted a “regulation” hit and drive tackle during the 40 minute hearing.

The panel were shown three tackles including Tim Simona’s and Matt White’s grade two tackles from earlier this year while Hall pointed to Bird’s teammates Matt Srama and Ashley Harrison as contributors to the tackle.

“I saw his feet come up and realised they were getting high so I let go,” Bird said. “I just dropped him.”

NRL counsel Peter Kite said the panel members had a responsibility to halt a growing trend of dangerous tackles. He said there were 10 in 2012, eight last year and 13 already this season. Kite said the panel needed to reinforce the NRL's edict to punish any dangerous throws severely in light of Alex McKinnon's serious neck injury earlier this year.

Bird pleaded guilty to the offence but fought the severity of the charge. He would have received  four-match ban if he had taken the early guilty plea to the original charge but could have been suspended for six games – and missed the entire Origin series – had the panel upheld the original charge.

"I'm satisfied I got a couple weeks off the charge," he said after the hearing. "I think everyone involved in rugby league noted that six weeks was probably too much.

"Massive relief that I'll only be missing for the first one. It would have been heartbreaking to miss the whole series.

"Players are confused. You have a big man coming at you, you can't shoulder charge, you can't dive in below the knees. Now you can't bend your back and drive. It is getting complicated. It's going to be interesting to see where we go from here."

Bird became the first the first high-profile victim of the NRL’s crackdown on lifting tackles. He will miss the Queensland NRL derby match when the Titans play Brisbane. Blues and Titans officials were stunned by the severity of the ban faced by Bird but the NRL recently announced a tougher stance on any tackle that places a player in a dangerous position. Bird hasn’t missed an Origin series since a one-season stint in France in 2009.

Cronulla’s Anthony Tupou and Parramatta’s Mitchell Allgood escaped bans after taking the early guilty plea for respective head slam and forearm charges in the fallout from the Eels’ 42-24 win against Parramatta on Monday night.

45 comments so far

  • This game is now nothing but a laughing stock. It is little wonder the Rugby League Commission is in hiding. Players resisting police slapped on the wrist and now a lifting tackle is ok if it's done by a State of Origin player. What a sham.

    Commenter
    RTP
    Location
    Sawtell
    Date and time
    May 14, 2014, 7:52PM
    • You are stiring the pot right? Are you Wayne Carey???.....

      Commenter
      bamboosolid
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      May 14, 2014, 9:14PM
    • Guess you missed the elbows from the Australian captain that landed on Matt Ballins head

      Commenter
      CSKN
      Location
      Manly
      Date and time
      May 14, 2014, 10:15PM
    • RL can't have NSW lose again this year. Their most influential players, Pearce and Bird should be out but have been given preferential treatment.
      For a blue to be sent off this year's Origin they will need to be carrying a knife during the game.

      Commenter
      Marty
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      May 15, 2014, 7:22AM
    • I dont think Goodwin was ever in genuine danger after Bird released his legs. Its the old pile driver when a players head points towards the ground that is the biggest problem.
      Having said that, Bird or no Bird, I hope Beau Scott still gets a look in. He has been in brilliant form in a struggling team.
      He's big, tough, runs and tackles hard and has Origin experience. Most importantly he will unsettle the Maroons.

      Commenter
      Danger Ranger
      Date and time
      May 15, 2014, 8:02AM
    • There goes the Blues solution to the No 6 jersey. Bird is the answer. Why does origin come into suspensions at all. The incident happened in the club comp, and that is where the suspension should be served.

      Commenter
      Brown Hornet
      Date and time
      May 15, 2014, 1:05PM
    • Marty of Brisbane making excuses already. Get your whinging pipes warmed up Marty, cause one day when you do lose you'll still find something to whinge about - thats one department where Queensland truly are unbeatable.

      Commenter
      cl
      Date and time
      May 15, 2014, 1:30PM
  • Seems like common sense hasn't totally abandoned the NRL.

    Commenter
    Roger
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    May 14, 2014, 7:54PM
    • Seems fair to me

      Commenter
      L. Daley
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 14, 2014, 8:08PM
      • A big surprise, a NSW player getting 'looked after' at origin time!

        Commenter
        Harry Potter
        Date and time
        May 14, 2014, 8:23PM

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