Cronulla pivot Brett Seymour adapted well and stood out in Bird’s absence, scoring a try and having a hand in several others as the Sharks ran roughshod over a team they had not beaten in nine previous encounters.
“We had a good chat this week about what’s got on, (coach) Ricky (Stuart) got us together,” Seymour told Fox Sports.
“We’re a really tight unit here and that’s what makes us play good footy, so we’re happy with the way things are going at the moment.”
In the evening’s other encounter, the Sydney Roosters were given a hell of a fright when they survived a South Sydney fight-back to win 22-20.
The Roosters led 22-0 when Braith Anasta crossed four minutes into the second half, before the Rabbitohs scored the next four tries to almost snatch an unlikely victory.
Chris Sandow’s conversion attempt to level the scores hit the upright and then a 40-20 attempt with seconds remaining was ruled to have fallen just short.
The Roosters’ win puts them three points clear of fifth-placed Brisbane in the race for a top four spot, although the Broncos have a game in hand.
Across town, the Sharks held a commanding 20-6 advantage at the break against a Tigers outfit missing injured playmaker Robbie Farah.
The visitors went on with the job in the second half, with Seymour gifted a saloon passage to the line after Ryan O’Hara dropped the ball cold in his own half.
Six minutes later Seymour fed the ball to Brett Kearney who danced around some tired Tigers defence and streaked away to dot down.
The Tigers went into the match needing victory to keep their season alive but were never in the contest.
The writing was on the wall early in the piece when Fraser Anderson was held up over the line by a desperate Stuart Flanagan.
Anderson did however atone for the missed opportunity, forcing his way over later in the first half to add to tries from Misi Talaupapa and Luke Covell.
It is the third season in a row the Tigers have missed the finals since winning the premiership in 2005 and coach Tim Sheens has signalled there will be changes.
The match was also Tigers’ captain Brett Hodgson’s final game in front of a home crowd before he heads to the English Super League next season.
He will finish off his NRL career against the Gold Coast at Skilled Park next weekend.
Sharks 32 (M Talaupapa, L Covell, F Anderson, B Seymour, B Kearney tries; L Covell 5 conversions, penalty)
Tigers 6 (B Harrison try, B Hodgson conversion)