Greg Bird is set to become one of the NRL’s most suspended players as he faces a ban of up to eight weeks, including the opening two State of Origin games.
The NSW enforcer was hit with a grade two dangerous throw charge by the match review committee for his ugly tackle on Kiwi winger Jason Nightingale late in the Kangaroos’ Test loss on Sunday.
Due in part to a litany of previous offences – totalling 21 weeks suspension from nine charges since his NRL debut in 2002 – the most recent charge carries a six week suspension if Bird takes the early guilty plea.
That will sideline him for Origin I on May 27 in Sydney.
However if the Gold Coast forward fights the charge at the judiciary and loses he will be outed for eight weeks including Origin I and II.
John Hopoate is by far the NRL’s most suspended player, outed for a total of 45 matches in a 13 year career, but Bird will force his way into fifth spot on that unwanted list if he does cop a six week ban.
Josh Reynolds’ hopes of retaining his NSW jersey have also suffered a blow, with the Blues incumbent five-eighth facing a one-game ban for tripping.
City playmaker Reynolds was hit with the charge for his ugly effort on Country forward Tariq Sims at Wagga Wagga on Sunday.
Due to loading and carry over points, the offence carries a one-match ban if Reynolds takes the early guilty plea.
That will rule him out of Canterbury’s visit to Townsville on Saturday to face North Queensland, leaving him just one more game to impress Blues coach Laurie Daley before he chooses his side on May 19 for game one.
If he fights the ban and loses, Reynolds will be outed for two games.
Kangaroos back-rower Sam Thaiday is also set for a week’s holiday for his crusher tackle on Kiwis forward Martin Taupau.
The Brisbane star was handed a grade one dangerous contact head/neck charge and will earn a week’s ban with the early guilty plea. The same penalty applies if he fights the charge and loses.
In other charges from the representative weekend, Melbourne’s Tongan forward Felise Kaufusi also faces a week ban for a grade one dangerous contact charge for a tackle on Samoa’s Josh McGuire in Saturday’s clash on the Gold Coast.