NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 07: Jack Bird of the Broncos in action during the round five NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the Brisbane Broncos at McDonald Jones Stadium on April 7, 2018 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

Jack Bird’s maiden season with Brisbane couldn’t have gone any worse, a sternum injury bringing a premature finish to a sub-par year. But if Wayne Bennett is smart – Bird won’t have a second season at Red Hill.

The Broncos signed Bird on a $1 million per season contract, and despite being a State of Origin caliber player and a premiership winning centre, he simply doesn’t have a position in the side.

Thoughts of moving Bird to lock were quickly scurried after the former Shark underwent a pre-season shoulder reconstruction that saw him miss the opening rounds of the season.

While in theory, having Bird roam around the field as a lock could work brilliantly, but he couldn’t handle the defensive workload needed to become a lock.

At $1 million a year, he’s simply too expensive to be a bench utility. While he can play anywhere between the one and seven jersey, you couldn’t move any of Brisbane’s incumbent backline for him.

Darius Boyd is rthe captain, and will be the Broncos’ fullback for years to come. Corey Oates is playing State of Origin this week, while their other winger, rookie Jamayne Isaako, just debuted for the Kiwis in the middle of his breakout season.

In the centres, Jordan Kahu is an international, while James Roberts is on the verge of completing his first State of Origin series. Halves Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima have both played for their counties, while Milford has also played featured in the Origin arena this year.

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The only possible solution is if Corey Oates shifts to the back-row, whether that be at Brisbane or another club. The shift would see Kahu return to the wing with Bird slotting into the centres.

Or… Brisbane could release Bird. Their star recruit, cut their losses. Set him free to flourish at another club, and save some money while they’re at it. A million dollars, to be precise. Maybe a little less when they chip in a part of his contract, but it’s still money saved.

And with the likes of Jonus Pearson and Kotoni Staggs coming through the ranks as well, Bird doesn’t have a spot in Red Hill.

Cronulla are losing both of their starting centres at seasons end, Ricky Leutele to Toronto and Jesse Ramien to Newcastle. They’ve signed Josh Morris to slot in on the left edge, but the right centre role remains open, and a Bird homecoming certainly isn’t out of the question.

He’s an undoubted talent, and true star of the game, but Brisbane isn’t the home for Jack Bird. And on a four year contract, it would be wrong to let a superstar sit on the bench until his contract expires in 2021. You can’t keep a Bird in a cage forever, it’s time to let Jack fly.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Is it time for the Broncos to let Jack Bird go? Yes. Yes. Yes.
    I was staunchly opposed to the Broncos’ decision to sign him and not use the money they ended up spending on him to retain Brisbane born products Ese Ese and Moga, who were off contract at the time.

    Based on Bird’s output in the few NRL seasons prior to joining the Broncos, he was an average centre and a below average half and lock.

    Simply put Bird is not the player the Broncos needed or need for the amount of salary cap he consumes.

    Hopefully one of the plethora of Sydney based clubs is silly enough to take on a significant portion of his hefty contract with the Broncos and the Broncos can get him off the books.

    • Moga and Ese’ese aren’t Brisbane products. Moga was born in Ipswich but a Roosters junior. Ese’ese was born in Auckland and a Bulldogs junior.
      I’d be surprised if anyone takes 50% of Bird’s salary if it is anywhere near the reported 1m a year. No club is touching that with a 10ft pole.

      • Spot on, no one is paying him $1 million.
        He will stay unless he wants to reestablish himself as a rep player and go back to Sydney for half price.
        Right centre @ the roosters.

  2. I would be telling the Donkeys they need to put up 60%-70% of the contract.
    Either that or he can stay there and they can pay 100% of his contract.

  3. Release him isn’t exactly an option, no way is he going to walk away from $1m a year and no one else would offer near that. If Bennett was smart he never would have signed him in the first place, his injury problems were already apparent at the Sharks and signing him for so much meant they never intended to have him play in the centers. He couldn’t hold down a halves position at the Sharks so why you’d pay that much for someone who isn’t even good enough for the team they are currently on is beyond me.

  4. Bird was an unusual purchase by the Broncos. It is a similar situation with Milford. They have paid top $$$, and at the same time, missed out on local talent? Seems to me there was a lot of pressure to get a quick premiership win – at any cost!

  5. He is going to cost Brisbane at least 2 of their fun young forwards, probably Staggs and one other.
    5 very good young forwards and only 2-3 spots in FG available. Su’A/Pangai will have to play in the middle off the bench once Gillett gets back, Glenn will hold the utility spot on the bench. Poor signing unless they can get bird to defend like wade Graham

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