Greg Bird says Mal Meninga’s claims about NSW’s poor culture leave him with egg on his face with a probe into Will Chambers’ alleged assault underway.
Greg Bird believes Queensland coach Mal Meninga has been left with egg on his face following his comments about Queensland having a superior culture to NSW earlier this year.
Meninga criticised deposed Blues halfback Mitchell Pearce after his arrest in Kings Cross in May but is now facing the fallout from an alleged incident at a Brisbane bar involving Maroons winger Will Chambers in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Chambers is being investigated by the NRL integrity unit following an assault claim made by a patron just hours after the Melbourne star had been named in the team for game three.
Meninga is now under pressure to drop Chambers from his side, although he’s not been charged by police.
The alleged incident has cast a shadow over Queensland’s preparations for game three of the State of Origin series as they look to save face by beating NSW in Brisbane on July 9 and prevent a first whitewash by the Blues for 14 years.
Meninga blasted Pearce before game one and claimed Queensland players would never jeopardise their positions in the team with poor off-field behaviour.
“I’m very thankful that the quality of player in the Queensland side puts the game first,” Meninga said at the time.
“This group of young men want to play for Queensland and part of that responsibility is setting the right example.”
When asked it Meninga has egg on his face over those comments Bird said: “I guess he probably does.”
“NSW boys have been in their share of strife over the last couple of years …. off-field dramas. It’s nice to be tucked away in Coffs Harbour and not be a part of it.
“But it’s the nature of today’s society that the smallest thing is going to be exaggerated and everything from the past brought up.
“But I am sure it’s a storm in a teacup and glamorised for the media.”
Bird said the arrest of Blake Ferguson last year before game two in Brisbane for indecent assault made it difficult for the team to prepare and said Queensland would experience a similar problem this week.
“I know our situation last year going into game two without Fergo it did create quite a distraction to start the camp,” he said.
“You don’t want to talk about it or dwell on it, you just want to focus on football. You don’t need these dramas.