Greg Bird is free to negotiate with NRL clubs. Most have turned their back on him, but now it seems long time rumours that the Gold Coast Titans want him are true.
The Titans are in a tough position in some regards.
As a footballer, Bird is just what the Titans needs. For a team that lacked a killer instinct, one that was seen as being a bit soft when it was time to get to the really important games at season end, they could not ask for a better player to join their club than Greg Bird.
A hard running lock or five-eight, a hard tackler, a no nonsense footballer. Love him or hate him, he is a bloody handy footballer.
The Titans are desperate to get a bit of starch into their side, and Bird would be just what they need….on the field.
The problem is, Birds name is mud in the Rugby League community. I don’t think I have to go over what I think of the bloke again, and most people feel the same way I do.
The Gold Coast Titans have prided themselves on being a community club. They have worked hard for many years to make sure that their supporter base knows that this is their team. They have a great relationship with the Gold Coast, they are a model club, and their off field record of player behavior is impeccable.
Do you throw that all to the side for a good football decision?
Fans are funny, they are emotional about player moves and we have already seen Titans fans pleading with the club not to make this move. However, if Bird is a success, and he does give the Titans what they need on the field, make no mistake that 95% of Titans fans will forget all about wanting Bird to leave the club.
This goes deeper than just the relationship with the fans for the Titans. This is a statement on what type of club they are.
No club over the last few years that has taken a gamble on an off field risks have gone on to be happy with the outcome.
For the Canterbury Bulldogs, it ruined the team. They didn’t recover until they removed the idiots from the place, and the turn around was dramatic.
For the Cronulla Sharks, the same thing happened. They had a few problem player, brought in a few more, and it blew up in their face.
The Sydney Roosters also faced the nightmare themselves. They have yet to learn their lesson yet, but a few more terrible years might get the job done.
Do the Titans want to go down the same road. Do they want to cross that line that says yes, we’ll do anything to win more games. Once a club crosses that threshold, it is almost impossible to come back from it.
You make a decision, not just on your player recruitment, but on your clubs culture. The subtle sign you send to all the players at your club is one of lowered standards, just as long as you can play a bit of footy.
Right now the Titans image is golden. A club based in a party town, yet who is well known for having a clean record off the field. A team of likable players, a team the community has embraced.
You don’t throw all of that away for a player like Greg Bird. Yes he would help the team win games, yes he is just what they need, however you cross that line and there is no going back.
Lets hope the Titans make the right decision. The best overall decision for their club, the community and the game.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com