|Bird in 2009|
2 October 1984 |
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
|Height||183 cm (6 ft 0 in)|
|Weight||102 kg (16 st 1 lb)|
|Position||Lock, Second-row, Five-eighth|
|2010–||Gold Coast Titans||78||12||3||2||56|
|2007–13||New South Wales||14||2||0||0||8|
|2007–13||Prime Minister's XIII||3||0||0||0||0|
|2010–12||Indigenous All Stars||3||0||0||0||0|
Greg Bird (born 2 October 1984) is an Australian professional rugby league footballer for the Gold Coast Titans of the National Rugby League. An Australian international and New South Wales State of Origin representative lock or second-row forward, Bird previously played for the NRL's Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, and the Catalans Dragons of Super League.
Born in Newcastle, New South Wales, Bird played junior football for the Maitland Pumpkin Pickers before being signed by the Newcastle Knights. He played for the Knights' Harold Matthews and SG Ball teams before being signed by the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks. In 2001, while playing for Rutherford Technology High School, Bird was selected for the Australian Schoolboys team team and captained the side.
Professional playing career
In Round 7 of the 2002 NRL season, Bird made his NRL debut for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. In 2003, Bird became a regular first-grader for the Sharks.
In 2004, Bird obtained notoriety after kneeing South Sydney Rabbitohs winger Shane Marteene in the head during their Round 4 clash, which resulted in him being sent off by the referee and being suspended from playing for 10 weeks. According to his agent, Gavin Orr, Bird had "said he copped a couple of blows to the face during the match and he got an elbow from Shane Marteene in the tackle and just lost it." Chief executive of the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, Steve Rogers claimed that Bird had "been made an example of" and was angered that there "wasn't much consideration given to Greg's youth and his previous record". The judiciary stated that it took Bird's remorse and good record into account, but decided upon the lengthy suspension due to the severity of the offence. After the game Bird apologised to Marteene in the dressing rooms and also wrote letters to the player and the South Sydney Rabbitohs club.
In 2006, Bird posed for the Naked Rugby League 2007-08 charity calendar, which was produced to raise money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation of Australia. In March 2006, Bird was alleged to have sent model Lara Bingle inappropriate text messages, although Bird denied this, Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks spokesman Rob Willis said "Greg's thrown up his hands. He says he's done nothing inappropriate. There's been nothing obscene written. There's been no harassment." In 2006, Bird suffered a serious rib injury in Round 21 against the Newcastle Knights which ended his season. He was voted as the Sharks' Player of the Year despite missing 7 games of the season through injury.
In May 2007, Bird was selected for the Country Origin team in the annual City vs Country Origin match. In June 2007, Bird was selected for New South Wales to play Queensland in Game 2 of the 2007 State of Origin series. His performance earned him a recall for game 3, this time at five-eighth. He was awarded the Man of the Match award. In September 2007, Bird was selected for the Prime Minister's XIII team to play Papua New Guinea. In October 2007, Bird was selected for Australia to play New Zealand in the one-off Test match in Wellington, New Zealand. He scored a try on debut and was named the Player's Player.
In May 2008, Bird was selected for Australia in 2008 Centenary Test, retaining his five-eighth jersey in place of the injured Darren Lockyer. In May 2008, Bird was selected for Game 1 of the 2008 State of Origin series for New South Wales, controversially chosen again in the five-eighth position. He was named Man of the Match and was again selected in Game 2. In August 2008, Bird was named in the preliminary 46-man Kangaroos squad for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup. However he didn't play a game.
On 25 August 2008, Bird appeared in Sutherland Local Court charged with maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm on his 24-year old American girlfriend Katie Milligan at his flat in Cronulla. It was alleged that he had smashed a glass into her face. It was reported that she underwent surgery for a fractured eye socket and facial injuries. Bird was granted bail. The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks chief executive, Tony Zappia, advised Bird would be stood down from the playing roster pending further investigations. Milligan had moved to Sydney to be with Bird earlier in the month, having met him in Las Vegas while he was on holiday there earlier in the year. In September 2008, Bird's legal representative was advised that Bird would be facing additional charges of public mischief and false accusation. The charges against Bird led to the British Government denying him a work permit to take up a playing position with Bradford Bulls.
On 17 January 2009, Bird signed a 1-year contract with the Bradford Bulls starting in the same year after being released from his contract with the Sharks the day before. However he was unable to play for the Bulls as his visa was denied. After initially deciding to play rugby union for the Southern Districts Rugby Club in the Shute Shield, Bird eventually signed with French club Catalans Dragons of Super League.
On 13 March 2009, Bird again appeared in Sutherland Local Court on 5 charges, 1 charge with 4 backup charges, of common assault against a female at Cronulla on 19 January 2008. This matter was not related to the case involving his girlfriend. His accuser was found to have been the aggressor in the incident and Bird was cleared of all charges by the magistrate. On 28 April 2009, Bird was found guilty of 1 count of reckless wounding of his girlfriend and 1 count of making a false accusation to police after attempting to blame his flatmate. On 6 May 2009, the Dragons opened talks with Bird about extending his contract with the club despite his court case on 28 April 2009 for assault. On 22 June 2009, he was sentenced to a maximum of 16 months imprisonment.
On appeal in November 2009, Bird was acquitted of the charges, after both he and his girlfriend gave evidence to support his claims.
Gold Coast Titans
On 7 December 2009, Bird signed a 1-year contract with the Gold Coast Titans starting in 2010, returning to the National Rugby League after being cleared of his glassing conviction. In February 2010, Bird was voted in by the fans for the Indigenous All Stars team to play the NRL All Stars in the inaugural All Stars Match. In May 2010, Bird was again selected for the Country Origin team in the annual City vs Country Origin match. In July 2010, Bird was selected for Game 3 of the 2010 State of Origin series for New South Wales. He scored a try. In November 2010, Bird played 2 matches for Australia in their 2010 Four Nations campaign. After playing 22 games for the Titans in 2010, Bird played on for the Titans in 2011 and 2012 while also returning to the representative arena.
In February 2011, Bird was again voted in by the fans for the Indigenous All Stars team to play the NRL All Stars in the annual All Stars Match. In 2011, Bird was selected for New South Wales in all 3 games of the 2011 State of Origin series. In September 2011, Bird was again selected for the Prime Minister's XIII team to play Papua New Guinea. On 11 January 2013, Bird re-signed with the Titans on a 4-year contract. He was named a Titans co-captain for 2013 alongside Nate Myles. Bird was selected for Australia in the 2013 ANZAC Test and played at second-row forward. In what was the first test match ever played in Canberra, New Zealand were defeated.
In February 2012, Bird was again voted in by the fans for the Indigenous All Stars team to play the NRL All Stars in the annual All Stars Match. In April 2012, Bird was again selected for the Country Origin team in the annual City vs Country Origin match. In 2012, Bird was selected for New South Wales in all 3 games of the 2012 State of Origin series.
- "City league star's Aussie jersey". Maitland Mercury. Maitland Mercury. 17 July 2001. Retrieved 26 August 2008.
- "SportingPulse Homepage for Australian Secondary Schools Rugby League". SportingPulse. Retrieved 10 October 2008.
- http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/sport/nrl/player/0,26796,100235-126,00.html. Missing or empty
- ABC Sport – Rugby League – Sharks lash Bird suspension
- "Bird says sorry for 'cowardly act' but he's prepared to pay the price". The Sydney Morning Herald. 5 April 2004.
- ABC Sport – Rugby League – Bird gets 10 weeks for kneeing
- "Crude texts less than model behaviour". The Sydney Morning Herald. 4 March 2006.
- Greg Bird
- Liam FitzGibbon (1 August 2008). "Surprises in Kangaroos squad". "Fox Sports News (Australia)". Retrieved 2 August 2008.
- "Veteran Lockyer named in Australian squad". International Herald Tribune. 1 August 2008. Retrieved 2 August 2008.
- Gee, Steve (25 August 2008). "Greg Bird allegedly blames Brent Watson for glassing Katie Milligan". Daily Telegraph (News Ltd). Retrieved 25 August 2008.
- Honeysett, Stuart (25 August 2008). "Sharks' shame as Greg Bird bailed". Daily Telegraph. News Ltd. Retrieved 25 August 2008.
- "Katie Milligan flies into arms of Cronulla Sharks' Greg Bird". news.com.au (News Ltd). 25 August 2008. Retrieved 25 August 2008.
- Ramachandran, Arjun (29 September 2008). "Greg Bird faces mischief charge". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 September 2008.[dead link]
- Irvine, Christopher (14 February 2009). "Bradford Bull suffer as Greg Bird is refused visa". timesonline.co.uk (London). Retrieved 13 March 2009.
- "Bulls confirm Bird signing". 17 January 2009. Retrieved 18 January 2009.[dead link]
- "Bird no longer a Shark". The Sydney Morning Herald. 16 January 2009. Retrieved 16 January 2009.[dead link]
- Bird offered French lifeline
- "SUTHERLAND Criminal Lists 13/03/2009". lawlink.nsw.gov.au. 13 March 2009. Retrieved 13 March 2009.[dead link]
- Kontominas, Bellinda (13 March 2009). "Greg Bird accused of nightclub assault". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 March 2009.[dead link]
- "Greg Bird cleared of nightclub assault". The Daily Telegraph. 5 February 2010. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
- "Bird convicted over glass attack". BBC News. 28 April 2009. Retrieved 28 April 2009.
- "Catalans to keep convicted Bird". BBC Sport. 6 May 2009. Retrieved 6 May 2009.
- "Greg Bird jailed for 16 months". The Sydney Morning Herald. 22 June 2009. Retrieved 22 June 2009.[dead link]
- Kontominas, Bellinda (26 November 2009). "Bird free as judge unravels web of lies". The Sydney Morning Herald.