In a huge blow to the start of the Brisbane Broncos’ 2018 campaign, new prized-recruit Jack Bird is set to miss the opening of the season as he undergoes a full shoulder reconstruction as reported by The Mole today.
It’s a demoralising loss for both Bird and Brisbane fans who were eagerly anticipating next year after he controversially signed a lucrative four-year, $4 million contract to move north.
:”We brought him in for a check-up and we feel surgery is the best option for Jack going forward,” said Broncos High-Performance Manager Jeremy Hickman.
“We’ll know more after the surgery but we’re hopeful he’ll be ready for Round 1.
“Jack’s biggest concern coming to a new club was being in the best possible shape, and getting an operation wasn’t part of that plan.
“But in the long-term, it’s going to be better for him and that’s the conversation we had.
“The good thing with shoulders is you can get running pretty quickly to make sure his running volume and fitness is right for the start of the season.”
The NSW Blues star was severely constrained by the injury last season at the Cronulla Sharks but the hope that it would mend during the offseason didn’t go to plan.
It’s also a bad look to start off with for the Broncos who reportedly paid $350,000 more for Bird than what the Cronulla offered, in what the Sharks called their richest ever contract proposal.
With the 22-year-old said to be undergoing surgery this week that will hopefully help him return to full health, it at least leaves Broncos coach Wayne Bennett without a selection dilemma for at least the first month of the season.
However, Bennett won’t be afforded the usual opportunity to experiment and tinker with different line-ups in the pre-season trials.
There are several potential positions Bird might play with five-eighth, fullback, lock and centre all possibilities.
After declaring his resentment to playing centre at Cronulla, Bird has made no secret that he wants to be closer to the ball in receiving more playmaking responsibilities. It’s highly unlikely Darius Boyd will be shifted from fullback and Josh McGuire was in career best form at lock this season.
Set to battle with Kodi Nikorima for the number six jersey, Bird will already be on the backfoot in the two-man race.
Bird will miss at least the Broncos’ opening matches against the Dragons (Jubilee Oval), Cowboys (Suncorp Stadium), Wests Tigers (Campbelltown Stadium) and Titans (Suncorp Stadium).
Hopefully for Bird and Brisbane fans, he can completely overcome his shoulder issues and return to full health in delivering on his big payday for a club that is desperate to avenge their bitter preliminary final loss this season and go all the way in 2018.