Knights likely to abandon plans to sign Greg Bird if he is found to have misbehaved in alleged pub incident

THE Knights are likely to abandon plans to sign Greg Bird if the Gold Coast veteran is found to have committed any wrongdoing during an alleged off-field incident last weekend.

The NRL's integrity unit is investigating the incident, which reportedly occurred as Bird and teammates were celebrating Anthony Don's buck’s party in Brunswick Heads.  

Bird posted an Instagram statement on Wednesday morning, in which he admitted a member of their group was involved in an “altercation” with hotel security staff but claimed to have played the role of peace-keeper.

"I would like to put out the actual version of events from the Saturday night at the Brunswick Hotel in mention," Bird’s post read.

"I was with a group of people on a bucks party and we all were refused entry. I left the premise [sic] and someone from our party stayed and got into a physical altercation with the security.

"Me along with everyone else in the group ran into separate the two involved and no one else threw any punches. There is footage and witnesses to verify this."

NSW Police will allege the group failed to leave the venue at the request of security staff.

"Due to their levels of intoxication, the group were asked to leave by security staff," a police statement said.

"It will be alleged a brawl broke out between members of the group and security staff. The fight occurred after the group continued to remain at the premises in spite of requests for the group to leave."

Bird is under contract to Gold Coast for one more season, but the Knights have made no secret of their desire to lure the Maitland-born enforcer home for 2017.

Knights chairman Brian McGuigan said that if it was established that Bird had been responsible for any misconduct, the club would reconsider its interest in signing him.

“Even though we would like his football prowess to be with us, the fact of the matter is that if he has transgressed, that would not stand him in great stead for our directors to agree to any acquisition of him,’’ McGuigan said.

“We have been absolutely welded to the idea of our fellows behaving themselves and not embarrassing the club, as has happened in the past.

“So if he was found to be wanting in this regard, we wouldn’t be too happy about it or likely to tolerate it.’’

McGuigan said Bird’s controversial reputation had been discussed previously at board level, “but if there was something fresh, and it was established he has done something untoward, then certainly we would be very concerned about that.’’ 

McGuigan said the Knights had taken pride in the conduct of their players over the past two seasons, after the scandal-riddled 2014 campaign.

Knights coach Nathan Brown has repeatedly stated this season that Bird could be the kind of experienced enforcer capable of helping Newcastle’s young tyros learn how to win.

Asked in June if he was concerned about Bird’s tainted past, Brown replied: “I think Greg’s one of many players that have had some indiscretions but have changed as they’ve matured and married and have had kids … he’s obviously a player that’s a great competitor, he’s been a great player and he was a local junior a long, long time ago.’’

Bird has been involved in a number of career-threatening incidents since making his NRL debut at Cronulla as an 18-year-old.

In 2008, he was de-registered by the NRL and forced to spend a year with Catalans Dragons after being found guilty of glassing his then girlfriend.

He was sentenced to eight months' jail, but the conviction was subsequently quashed by an appeal judge.

Last year he was given a “final warning” by the Titans and stripped of the club captaincy for urinating on a police car during his wedding celebrations, then appeared certain to be sacked after he was charged with supplying cocaine.

The charges were eventually dropped because of a lack of evidence.

On the field, the 31-year-old has also repeatedly found himself in strife with the authorities.

Two suspensions in 2016 for illegalities took him to a career tally of 31 weeks on the sidelines, which makes him the NRL’s most-suspended current player.

The Titans said they believed Bird was the only Gold Coast player being investigated by the integrity unit.

They described the unit's investigation as "ongoing".

"The club can ... confirm investigations by the integrity unit into a separate matter in northern NSW last weekend are ongoing," the Titans statement said.

"To the best of the club's knowledge, Greg Bird is the only Titans player under review by the integrity unit at this stage."

In an online Newcastle Herald poll on Wednesday, 58 per cent of recipients said the Knights should not try to sign Bird.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop