War of words off the field is set to shorten the fuse for both sides on it.
Greg Bird has started State of Origin II three days early by calling Queensland centre Brent Tate a hypocrite when it comes to punishments for in-game incidents.
Tate was the centre of an incident between he and Bird two years ago, when the Maroons player hit Bird while he was on the ground and had his arms pinned.
However, in the wake of Game I in 2014, Tate called on the NRL for tougher penalties for incidents that happen during games when he was involved in a lifting tackle from Josh Reynolds
The NRL match review committee charged Reynolds with a grade two dangerous throw but he had it downgraded at a judiciary hearing, meaning he missed one game but is free to play on Wednesday night.
“I found it quite hypocritical, I guess,” Bird said of Tate’s comments about Reynolds.
“He obviously had an agenda that he was trying, whether he was trying to get someone suspended to miss the game. But ‘Grubby’ (Reynolds) is playing, Tatey’s playing, he hasn’t got any damage to him.
“I think he landed on his arse.
“I didn’t see too much wrong with it. The way he landed he was put in a dangerous position obviously. I think it warranted the grade one but nothing more.”
Bird said he has not forgotten that punch from Tate, and brings it up even when they are both on the same side for the Kangaroos.
“I remind him (Tate) every time we go into a Test match,” Bird said.
“That’s football mate, that doesn’t worry me. The punches, the cheap shots, that’s what I love about the game.
“I wish a lot of it wasn’t taken out of the game by the officials and I’m sure 98 per cent of the people watching the game would love to see that style of play brought back to the arena. But the way the times are these days, these things have passed.”
That differing stance has seen Bird go on the attack.