St George Illawarra centre Jack Bird has denied the NRL club has a discipline problem after losing several players to suspensions in the wake of the team’s loss to the Melbourne Storm.
- Four Dragons players have been suspended for dangerous tackles after their loss to the Storm
- Matt Dufty is facing an extended period on the sideline after injuring his shoulder
- The suspensions follow a crackdown by the NRL on head-high tackles
Backrower Tyrell Fuimaono copped a five-week suspension after being sent off for a head-high tackle on Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen, that left him unconscious on the field for several minutes before he was stretchered off on Sunday.
Fellow forward Josh McGuire will also be out for five weeks for his dangerous tackle that saw him sin-binned over the weekend.
Winger Mikaele Ravalawa will miss two weeks for a shoulder charge and backrower Tariq Sims received a one-week suspension for dangerous contact.
“We don’t mean to go out there and head high or shoulder charge,” Bird said during a press conference in Wollongong on Tuesday.
“We can’t go out there and head high but I mean there are [going to be] accidents out there,” he said.
‘Left in the dark’
The club’s captain, Ben Hunt, criticised the league for a lack of player consultation prior to its crackdown on dangerous tackles last weekend.
“It seems whenever something like this comes in really quickly, the players are sort of left in the dark about the decisions being made, and we have to fall into line and play along with it,” Hunt said.
The Dragons also face a mounting injury crisis with Matt Dufty (shoulder), Zac Lomax (thumb), Brayden Williame (calf), and Mat Feagai (ankle) all some weeks away from returning.
Dragons coach Anothony Griffin said Dufty would be out for a number of weeks after suffering an injury against the Storm.
“It looks like he’s got a decent AC rupture there, it’s not real good,” Griffin said.
Fourteen players were sin-binned and three players were sent off as part of the crackdown on dangerous tackles during the NRL’s Magic Round at Brisbane.
St George Illawarra attracted the most suspensions during the round, and has had more suspensions than any other NRL club this season.