SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 24: Jack Bird of the Sharks celebrates at full time following the round 20 NRL match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Newcastle Knights at Southern Cross Group Stadium on July 24, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Bird may fly away from Cronulla’s coop

Jack Bird headlines some of the most talented players off-contract at the end of 2017, and he’s no certainty to remain in the Shire. Despite spending the entirety of his NRL career with the Sharks, Bird’s longing to play in the spine may see him join a rival club for 2018 and beyond.

Debuting for Cronulla in 2015, Bird claimed the Dally M Rookie of the Year Award as he led the Sharks to the finals playing at five-eighth for the club. Although Bird’s 2015 form at five-eighth was outstanding for a rookie, the recruitment of halves James Maloney and Chad Townsend destined Bird for a move to the centres for the 2016 season.

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Bird would form a stellar combination with winger Valentine Holmes on Cronulla’s right edge, scoring six tries. Despite making his debut for New South Wales in the series loss, the highlight for Bird’s season would, without a doubt, be Cronulla’s maiden premiership win. Bird ruptured several ligaments in his elbow early in the match, restricting him to the use of one arm for the majority of the game. The injury didn’t stop Bird from putting in a stellar performance, nearly claiming the Clive Churchill medal, with his elbow the only thing stopping Bird from making his Kangaroos debut at the Four Nations.

Despite the sacking of Ben Barba for illegal substance use, it’s assumed Valentine Holmes will claim the vacant spot, with Bird set to combine with Gerard Beale on the right edge. Being a NSW Blues incumbent, not being able to play in his preferred position could prove frustrating for Bird.

“When you don’t see the ball, it gets pretty boring out there. I like to be around the ball a bit more. Last year when I was playing five-eighth, I really enjoyed that” said Bird last season.

Newcastle originally led the chase for Bird’s signature, but the Knight’s big money signing of young Kalyn Ponga means the club’s fullback spot is filled for years to come. The long-term future of playmaker Jarrod Mullen has been thrown into uncertain waters following his latest setback, but the club has invested heavily into juniors Brock Lamb and Jack Cogger, shutting that door.

Bird’s junior club St George Illawarra have emerged as a possible suitor, with last season highlighting the Dragon’s struggling attacking game. The Dragons have a halves spot vacant following the exit of Benji Marshall, while a move to fullback could open Josh Dugan to a full-time spot in the centres.

One surprising suitor that’s reared its head in recent weeks is the Sydney Roosters. Seemingly already set up with a solid spine for 2018 with the likes of Latrell Mitchell, Luke Keary, Mitchell Pearce and Jake Friend all set to turn out for the tricolours. The Roosters have also expressed interest in the off-contract James Tedesco, which could shape as a surprise exit for a member of their spine.

Bird will begin Cronulla’s title defence in Round One against the Brisbane Broncos, opening the season on Thursday, March 2nd at Southern Cross Group Stadium. Before that, however, Bird will travel with the club to England to face the Wigan Warriors as the Sharks look to claim their maiden World Club Challenge trophy.

62 COMMENTS

  1. So was there any new news in this article or was it just re-hashing all the previous articles speculating on what Bird may or may not do?

    Personally I still think that he’ll stay, with Gal and Lewis probably in their last year I can see him playing lock for a season or so until Maloney calls it quits at which time he will slide into 5/8. However, youngsters are in a rush now days so he may not want to wait.

    Personally I think that he would be a terrific signing for the Knights as a 5/8. Let Hodkinson do the organising and let Bird play as a running 5/8. For the same reason, I don’t think he would be successful at the Dragons as a 5/8. Widdop and Bird in the halves don’t have enough organisation in them.

    • Milton

      “So was there any new news in this article or was it just re-hashing all the previous articles ”

      I think it is a response to the request on the Jordan Kahu/Benji Marshall story by chalky and eels47 for a new story to be posted to generate further discussion “on topic”.

      Jack Bird would be a great acquisition for any club, which is precisely why I don’t think the Sharks are about to let him go. It won’t kill him to start 2017 in the centres and see what happens. He has the potential to cover many positions as the need arises so I am sure he will get his chance at some point. I favour Holmes at FB over Bird who IMO would be better at 5/8 or lock IF he isn’t playing at centre.

      • I’m thinking Jack Bird will go to the highest bidder, to be honest, but at the same time wanting to be in a team that is competitive, Cronulla need to tie him up now , if they can, if this drags along he will be short odds to go else where, except St George where he brushed them as a junior, don’t be surprised the Bronco’s make a serious bid , especially after this season when they miss the 8, Bird is no mug , he knows Cronulla will struggle after 2017, probably will this year actually, and will be looking for a club that will pay him what he thinks he is worth, personally i think Newcastle should go all out for him,, they have got Pongia now so try to add to that, one other club that would be in the mix , for sure , is Melbourne that would be an awesome signing for them.

        • penso, I think Jack will stick with the Sharks (he is still on a high from the premiership win and he has Gallen in his ear). If playing FB or 5/8 is a contract defining issue for him then THAT may test his loyalty. If he leaves I would like to see the Dragons get first crack, I’m sure they want “Jack back” (remember how we felt about losing our 4 juniors recently to the Roosters).

          If the Dragons can’t get him then I’m cheering for the Knights to help them fill the second last missing piece in their spine. If money talks then Broncos and Roosters will be the only ones with a shot and it will come down to TPA’s so he will be Brisbane bound. If he is set on playing FB or 5/8 then that will swing things the Roosters way, Bird won’t take the spots of Boyd or Milford. The Broncos will want to play him in the centres.

  2. to manly to play center? I know we wanted him before. time will tell I guess. If we do should only be around 450 – 500k and taufua lol

  3. Politis will jag him , wait n see ,payback for Maloney ,Manly don’t need him , as for Tafua, he played busted ,in pain ,against medical advice ,,,,, for his club!!! Not too many players of his ilk at the moment , a fit tafua is one deadly winger

    • Why is payback for Maloney???? Didn’t the Roosters let Maloney go because he wasn’t in their plans?

      • thought so too – they had hastings, connor whatshisname and matterson so let him go in the hope they were going to jag SBW for another season

    • Aren’t the Roosters super keen on Tedesco? You would think that signing Teddy would take up a pretty large chunk of the cap.

        • Haven’t the Roosters gotten rid of Maloney, RTS, Moa, Jennings, SBW (all internationals) over the past couple of seasons?

        • Since the NRL decided the Titans would become one of the famous 3 favourite clubs of the comp. Roosters, Broncos and now Titans. Titans have not lost anyone massively priced over the past seasons but as soon as the NRL wanted it they got about 3 millions worth of players. Not a coincidence.

        • It a nice theory holmsey but it has more holes than Swiss cheese 🧀 If the NRL has some secret plan to use their controlling interest to give the Titans an unfair advantage they would have made sure the DCE deal didn’t fall through, they would have also would have chased hard for a couple of big name signings early in 2016 (Hayne wasn’t signed until the end of the year and then only after the Eels couldn’t or wouldn’t make an offer) and THAT game against the Broncos in the 2016 final series… well it would have looked completely different. Trust me, an NRL owned team is the last team that is going to be cheating the cap.

        • All valid points but I still think they are one of the golden teams. It’s not a coincidence as soon as the NRL took over the Titans they started signing who ever they wanted.

        • Holmsey, you are seeing shadows where there aren’t any.

          To look at it as Titans bought players after the NRL came in is a gross simplification of the situation.

          Firstly, the Titans were operating under the cap before the NRL came in as they couldn’t afford to pay the full cap. They also had a lot of left over money from when DCE shafted them. They also let go of Bird, Douglas, Friend, Hoffman, Mead, Mortimer who all were on pretty decent coin.

          Now that the NRL have financed them so they can actually pay the whole cap they have made some shrewd purchases. Peats and Hurrell were unwanted by there clubs.

        • Considering Manly signed
          Martin Taupau (kiwi)
          Dylan Walker (NSW &Aus)
          Nate Myles (QLD&Aus)
          Lewis Brown (Kiwi)
          Apisai Koroisau (fiji)
          Darcy Lussick (country/city rep)

          6 international or rep players in 1 year and suddenly we have no cap your a idiot your youth works against you kid

  4. I hope he stays at the Sharks. He and Holmes are outstanding together and it would be good to see the Sharks build their future team around these 2.

    What Miltontoaster says is right though, I fear he will leave as he won’t want to wait around for the opportunity to play in the halves at the Sharks. For this reason Newcastle does seem the best fit as they need a running 6 to partner Hodkinson.

  5. eels47

    “I hope he stays at the Sharks.”

    I agree.

    “Newcastle does seem the best fit as they need a running 6 to partner Hodkinson.”

    IF he does leave the Knights deserve a break and with Ponga (FB), Bird (5/8) and Hodkinson (HB) the Knights would be just about set. They just need a hooker… they should have gotten Farah when they had the chance.

    • Let’s see if you are still so positive about Farah by the end of this season SSTID.

      Knights may have dodged a bullet by not looking at bringing in Robbie.

        • Not sure that anyone on ZT has hiring and firing power at an NRL club. Good luck with that dream though, I doubt that Farah has come to Souths to ride the bench.

        • Are you always so literal Milton? Never let the fine details get in the way of a punchline! If you are going to insist on conducting an autopsy over ever joke I will have to start calling it “the Milton solution”. Don’t worry I promise to keep it clean! LOL 😂

    • Yep, Newcastle could really build something nice there….. If he doesn’t stay that is where I would like to see him go.

      If he stays, Maloney will be 31 this year, so I am guessing maybe at least 2019 for his last year, so it is a long time to wait. Townsend was good last year, but maybe he will need to be the one that they get rid of if they want to keep Bird. A spine of Holmes, Bird, Maloney and Segyaro looks pretty good to me.

  6. Yep highest bidder. He won’t be staying at Cronulla when they can only offer him centre. I have a feeling they may lose Holmes too. Manly don’t need bird. We’ve got a 5/8 now and 2 good young centres, no need for him. I reckon he will go to roosters becuase politis gets who ever he wants usually.

    And a quick side note of Taufua. He was injured most of 2016 and was still very good, just had patches under the high ball but other than that he was very destructive and good for metres. He will be back strong in 2017.

    • Hey adzy! Did you have a good Christmas/New Year? Don’t get lost in the dream mate, there is no word yet of Bird even leaving the Sharks that alone that the Knights are in the hunt. I see you are on board with my suggestion of Mullen at hooker (if he ever can get a run without injury). Also give Ponga some time (once he gets there in 2018). He is still only a kid and has a long way to go yet, but so much potential. Btw, my Oakland Raiders bit the dust as soon as we lost our QB, pity.

      • And my Green Bay Packers ran the table from 4-6 just as Aaron Rodgers said they would to make it to 10-6. And we won last week so now we get to play Dallas. Interesting to see how the Cowboys stars will go after being rested for 2 weeks. The Packers biggest problem this season was injuries, we lost our Running Back (who was a Wide Receiver turned RB) and our main Wide Receiver last game. Not to mention the amount of Cornerbacks that we already had injured (we had Safties playing Cornerback last week or the week before I’m pretty sure). But mark my words, if we beat the Cowboys we will win the Super Bowl (this is basically our Super Bowl right now).

        Shame about Derek Carr though. He was having an amazing year. Was one of the favourites for the MVP too but he will likely miss out because of the injury, with either Matt Ryan, Ezekiel Elliot, Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady (who missed 4 games, a quarter of the regular season, and at age 39 appears to be having a career year) winning it.

        • That’s a huge call there Trollz re: Green Bay winning the Super Bowl if you beat Dallas. While I agree that if you beat Dallas you will win the NFC (Atlanta and Seattle are pretenders) – I don’t think that you will get past the Patriots or Steelers in the SB. Although it has improved throughout the year, I don’t think your defence can shut down Brady or the Killer Bees out of Pittsburgh (Big Ben, Brown, Bell).

        • Well considering I’m calling for the Knights to make the 8 next season, that makes my Packers for the Super Bowl quite lame 🙂.

          Seattle isn’t really a pretender but hey will miss Kam Chancellor and Marshawn Lynch (Thomas Rawls won’t play like he did last week for a long time).

          I’ve got lots of respect for both the Patriots and the Steelers.

          Big Ben isn’t at 100% though (he went to the post game interview in a moon boot, but claims he will be fine for the game), but then again Le’veon Bell is an absolute freak of a Running Back and Antonio Brown is one of the best Wide Receivers in the game. The Steelers are on their own winning streak as well, but I think we can beat them.

          Brady and Bellchick at the Patriots, however is another story. I think we can beat them, but Brady needs to be injured or have a very off game (which isn’t likely to happen, it happens like once every 5 years now) for us to be considered favourites. However, if our defence can stand up for once (instead of being torched by Brady) then I think we would win. The Packers offence has been on fire the past few weeks, however if we make the Super Bowl, we will need both Jordy Nelson and Ty Montgomery back.

          By the way, I am hoping for a Packers vs Patriots Super Bowl. Would be great to see these 2 future Hall Of Famers battle it out, considering they are arguably the top 2 QBs in the league.

          By the way, Jordy Nelson was only injured because of a cheap shot (although it looked accidental), the Giants defender led with his helmet in the tackle (which isn’t allowed), however another defender was probably considered the main tackler.

        • trollz, your “cheese heads” only won at the death thanks to Aaron “Hail Mary” Rodgers. There are only so many times you can pull a rabbit out of the hat… right Rabbits? “Rabbits? Rabbits! Don’t start me Rabbits! Don’t start me!”

          @Milton, my son will be happy if that’s the case, he is a big Steelers fan! Pity for my Raiders that our “Carr broke down!” it would have driven us all the way to the Big Dance and the Superbowl Championship! Who do you support again Milton?

        • I’m a Pats fan but have a soft spot for Oakland seeing as I support the Raiders in the NRL as well as being a fan of early nineties gangsta rap.

        • We didn’t win it at the death, that Hail Mary happened at the end of the first half. Sure, we weren’t playing well for the first quarter and a half, but then we clicked and came good. And that was AFTER we lost Jordy Nelson (our best wide receiver). We also lost Ty Montgomery at some stage but don’t really remember when and we had to go to Christine Michael.

        • trollz, I meant at the death… of the first half! Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story (or punchline!). Once our Carr broke down the Raiders were finished. So close but no cigar! Cautionary tail for YOUR Raiders Milton? 😉

        • @Miltontoaster, known by close friends as “the nightingale”, cooks Eggs Benedict (“to die for!”), was a prop forward back in the day and loves nineties gangsta rap… you are more than a toaster, you are a rubik’s cube! Btw, did you get on the Pats early or are you a johnny-come-lately band-wagoner who started supporting them when they started winning? I started following the Raiders back in 1980 and they went on to win Super Bowl XV.

  7. I don’t really see Bird leaving unfortunately, unless Cronulla is still open for our trade with Chambers….

  8. another worthless bit of media hype , knowing birdy personally i assure all sharks fans don’t believe this crap thats all it is crap .. hes going nowhere this i can assure you … this is coming from birdy’s mouth hes happy where he is and along with val is re signing for a long term deal this year … believe that

    • You really are a numbskull aren’t you? Why would anyone believe anything you say? We’re still waiting on the Sharks announcing the signing of Damien Cook and DWZ as you have guaranteed.

      • Yes Milton, but did believethis know Cook and DWZ “personally”? Surely THIS is different? So believethis, how did you get to know Bird personally? Did you get his autograph after a game? Please, tell me there isn’t a “restraining order” involved?

    • Oh look sh!t for brains with another total BS rant. You are a nobody and you know nothing. The only bird you would know is the seagull that sh!ts on your head everyday. Take it as a given if this moron says he’s staying then sorry Sharky fans, he’s gone.

    • Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha…

      Oh wait, you were being serious? You know Jack Bird? Did you both go to the same primary school? Only difference is your a 50 year old still stuck in Grade 4 and he’s a successful footballer 😂😂😂

  9. I did comment on a post a few weeks back. He will be announced as our new signing for 2018

    • hayne2roosters(nowSanFran)

      If that is true mate it will be a HUGE signing for the Roosters and a big step in the right direction. See my earlier comment at the top of this story:

      SSTID_1970 January 12, 2017 at 2:26 pm

      “…If playing FB or 5/8 is a contract defining issue for him… If money talks then Broncos and Roosters will be the only ones with a shot and it will come down to TPA’s… If he is set on playing FB or 5/8 then that will swing things the Roosters way, Bird won’t take the spots of Boyd or Milford.”

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