His afternoon was brought to an abrupt end by a Greg Bird bellringer, but Cronulla five-eighth James Maloney insists he has no problems with the Gold Coast forward, nor the tackle.
Bird was a man on a mission against his old NRL club, involving himself in a number of niggly incidents in his side’s 23-18 loss, including being put on report for a late shot on Maloney in the first half.
After a review by the bunker, referee Grant Atkins told Bird his shoulder had made contact with Maloney’s head and he would now be at the mercy of the match review committee on Monday.
Maloney, who failed to return to the field, said he had no issues with the hit.
“I knew I went right into the line. It is what it is, you need to wear that sometimes,” he said.
“I get on well with Birdy. I like the way he plays. It’s just a shame to be on the wrong end of it.”
Bird also didn’t think there was much in the shot.
“He’s a good ballplayer and he takes the ball right into the line. So every ball player knows when they do that, they’re at a risk of getting hit as they pass it,” he said.
“I don’t think I hit him high. He might’ve got some whiplash in the neck which might’ve caused a sore neck and sore head. But I’ll wait and see.”
The 31-year-old pointed out the good halves, such as North Queensland skipper Johnathan Thurston and Parramatta counterpart Kieran Foran, were renowned for their skill in taking the ball to the line.
But defenders deserved the right to make a stand.
“They can’t just have halves running wild and doing what they want on the field. You try to make them pass a little bit earlier next time,” he said.
Sharks skipper Paul Gallen initially wasn’t pleased with the tackle but didn’t think think it warranted being placed on report.
“At the time, it didn’t look great but I don’t think it was a shoulder charge,” he said.
“I don’t think he’ll have much to answer to, to be honest.”