When you think NRL hitmen, Steve Simpson probably isn’t the first name that springs to mind.
But according to former NSW and Australia Test veteran Greg Bird, Simpson was one of the hardest hitters to play the game.
Speaking to the Our Town Our Team podcast, Bird recalled a match early in his career where he was on the receiving end of a shot from Simpson and the eighth immortal Andrew Johns.
The end result was a chest filled with busted ribs and a trip to the emergency room.
In fact, Bird was hospitalised for a week.
“Because I left the Knights, all those older guys used to bash me up when I played against them because I left,” Bird said.
“You always want to bash up the players that leave you. We played a game at Shark Park and I ran into a hole off Noddy (Brett Kimmorley). It wasn’t a hole. I ran into Steve Simpson and Joey and they folded me.
LISTEN TO THE GREG BIRD PODCAST BELOW!
IF YOU'RE READING ON THE APP AND WANT TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST - CLICK HERE!
“I ended up in hospital for a week. I broke two ribs and tore a heap of rib cartilage.”
This was 2004 and Bird was playing on the edge for the Sharks.
“He and Andrew Johns had the best combination,” Bird continued.
“Steve Simpson is a ball or rock.
“He runs as fast as he can on the inside shoulder. When you’re a halfback and you know exactly where he’s going to run and you know that Joey’s going to take it all the way to the line and you’ve just got to get in front of him.”
So, here’s Bird laying on Shark Park, unable to breath.
“I remember Joey just laughing,” Bird continued.
“Steve just looked down at me and they were all back slapping and I couldn’t breath.
“My ribs were busted and moving apart. They had to carry me off the field and straight to hospital.
“Steve Simpson is probably one of the hardest players in the NRL I’ve ever come up against.”