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Sharks Admit Discipline is a Problem
Cronulla conceded it had a discipline problem as Sharks five-eighth Greg Bird contemplated 12 weeks on the sidelines for kneeing South Sydney's Shane Marteene in the head.
A teary Bird, 20, today apologised for the incident after he was one of five players charged by the National Rugby League following the weekend's games.
The ex-Australian under 19 skipper's striking charge was referred directly to Wednesday's judiciary hearing and not graded due to the seriousness of the offence.
He was sent off by referee Tony Archer during Saturday night's 36-12 loss to Souths over the 66th minute incident which occurred while Marteene tried to play the ball.
Besides facing an expected lengthy suspension, Bird may also be hit with disciplinary action from the Sharks.
Close to tears when he fronted the media today, Bird said his actions were completely out of character.
"I'd just like to apologise to everyone involved, the (Cronulla) club, the Souths club and Shane," Bird said.
"What I did the other night was in no way a true reflection of my character in the game, it's not what I'm out to do."
"I have to deal with everything that is going to happen in the next couple of days."
Marteene said a remorseful Bird had phoned him today, "i think it was just a moment of madness, at the end of the day he has to cop it sweet," he said.
Besides Bird, Sharks prop Jason Stevens also received a judiciary call-up today on a grade two tripping charge and will miss one game with an early plea but two matches if found guilty.
Sharks football manager Steve Rogers and fullback David Peachey admitted today the team needed to look at their ill-discipline.
"It's something that has permeated the club in the last few years and it's something we're working hard to get rid of," Rogers said.
"It's not as easy as turning a tap on and off, it's something that has crept in over a period of time and it's something we're working hard to address."
Archer caned the Sharks 15-4 in the penalties and the previous week, the team conceded 12 penalties under Sean Hampstead in a victory over Manly.
"I'm sure (discipline) will be discussed some time this week," Peachey said.
"It's something that has slowly crept in and we've got to eradicate it and get rid of it and once we address that ... hopefully we can move on."
Peachey admitted the Bird incident looked "ugly".
"I think it's something he'll regret," Peachey said.
"It was an ugly incident ... the biggest thing for Greg at the moment is not to worry too much about it.
"Once the outcome is done, move on."
"I've been with Greg for three years now and it's not in his game at all."