After standing behind Bird’s account of being wrongfully arrested initially, the NSWRL changed their story after Queensland police came out with statement saying this lock-up with not a practical joke at all.
At this stage it is now believed that Queensland police may have acted lawfully in arresting Bird outside Brisbane night-spot Uber bar at 4.30am. However, the Cronulla Sharks and the NSWRL are continuing their own investigations on the matter to determine what really took place.
Greg Bird,24, did not initially move off the street when asked by Police, and then refused to provide his name and details when asked – leaving police with the right to handcuff him and place him in their vehicle for 3 minutes.
Bird’s release was apparently negotiated by a man police initially thought was a NSW team minder. But this person was apparently a squad member of the NSW Residents side who told the Officers he was the Blues media manager in order to simmer the situation and free Bird.
Bird was soon let go after eventually passing on his particulars, but says an officer then confirmed the episode as a joke as he was exiting the Police vehicle.
Queensland Police Minister Judy Spence backed her officers version of events, there was however no rebuttal to Bird’s claim about what the officer said to him.
NSWRL supremo Geoff Carr said they would continue to delve into the situation, with camera footage expected to confirm what actually happened that morning. Apparently bystanders had camera phones and recorders and it is believed there were security cameras nearby that may have caught the events.
Under the terms of his NSWRL contract, Bird could receive a financial fine or be suspended as a result of the events, if they are found in favour of the Queensland Police. NSWRL sources, however, said there was no chance he would be barred from selection because the incident is viewed as minor.
It appears Bird and partner Anthony Tupou’s night on the town Brisbane after Origin, will be the last ever for NSW players.
Calling Brisbane’s State of Origin bar scene “a zoo”, Carr said it in the future, NSW players will be limited to the teams after game function only.
“Brisbane is a zoo after Origin matches, and if you put yourself out there things like this can happen no matter how well you behave,” he said.
“The reality is these players are under an immense amount of public scrutiny– and rightly so because there were four million people who watched the game on TV.
“On the day of the game I was walking in the city and people were drinking at 11am. That’s a big day, and you tend to feel sorry for police dealing with these people when it comes to 4.30am.
“You can understand why the Police may have been on the offensive with the louts. After going through what’s happened, we are very close (to banning them from going out).”
Sharks boss Tony Zappia said he will be chatting with Greg Bird in regards to “the responsibility to comply with police”, and any action against a wrongful arrest has been ruled out.