The New Zealand Warriors must combat State of Origin's man of the series but another cornerstone of the Gold Coast Titans forward pack is destined to miss Saturday's NRL clash at Skilled Park - and potentially the rest of the season.
While star second rower Nate Myles' recovery from last night's cliff hanger at Suncorp Stadium revolves around the extent of his celebrating Queensland's seventh successive series win, glum NSW adversary Greg Bird has practically ruled himself out of backing up against the Warriors.
Bird self-diagnosed a torn pectoral muscle when he emerged from the dressing room and if scans confirm his medical opinion the rugged back rower could be sidelined for the remainder of the Titans campaign, denting their hopes of making the play-offs.
He also sustained an ugly facial wound - his right eye was swollen and practically shut, another body blow likely to rule him out of the 18th round match with the New Zealanders.
Bird was punched in the head by Brent Tate during the fiery opening stages of the decider but it was Petero Civoniceva's knee that inflicted the damage.
Tate today entered an early guilty plea to a grade one striking charge and escaped suspension due to his previous disciplinary record.
A Titans spokesman said Bird's status will be confirmed tomorrow, his absence would be another headache for head coach John Cartwright who has already lost Maroons back rower Ashley Harrison to a toe injury suffered in the second instalment of a closely fought interstate series.
Veteran prop Luke Bailey's comeback from a long-term rib injury is also doubtful with the former Kangaroos and NSW representative needing to pass a fitness test tomorrow.
Bird was in a sorry state after the Blues agonising 21-20 loss, his physical state mirrored his mental well-being.
"It's dejecting. We fought hard and fought back but it wasn't to be. It's so disappointing," he said as shattered teammates contemplated another agonising defeat.
- © Fairfax NZ News