Gold Coast coach John Cartwright says a decision on whether to fight any potential sanction against Greg Bird won’t be based on his State of Origin prospects.
Gold Coast coach John Cartwright says he’s more worried about Greg Bird missing this Friday’s NRL derby against Brisbane than the State of Origin opener.
Bird is yet to discover whether he will face a ban after being placed on report for a lifting tackle in the second half of last Saturday’s 40-18 loss to South Sydney.
Anything more than a one-game sanction would rule the NSW and Australia back-rower ineligible for Origin I in Brisbane on May 28.
Cartwright is adamant his co-captain shouldn’t face a penalty for what he calls a regulation tackle.
But if he is charged, Bird’s Origin hopes won’t play a role in whether the Titans accept an early guilty plea or challenge the match review committee’s decision.
“You only challenge it if you think you can get off,” Cartwright said.
“Whether it’s Origin or a club game you’ve got to weigh up the innocence and the guilt and whether you get the player off the charge.
“They’re the first things we’ll be looking at.”
Cartwright said regardless of the outcome, lifting tackles are still part of the game.
He says it’s impossible to outlaw them completely in the wake of Newcastle forward Alex McKinnon’s career-ending spinal injury, and each case should still be judged on its merits.
“You can’t stop that type of tackle happening,” he said.
“In a game with a lot of contact there’s some things which are just unavoidable.”