The St George Illawarra Dragons and star utility Jack Bird have finally found common ground, agreeing to upgrade Bird's contract on Monday night.
The Dragons had previously set a deadline of Monday, May 9th to get the deal done. This is believed to be what forced the two parties to get the deal done.
According to The Daily Telegraph, the Dragons ultimately increased their original two-year proposal to include the potential for a third year, which managed to get Bird over the line on signing with the club.
It's understood the third year in the deal will be a mutual option, with the first two years of the contract worth around $550,000 per season.
Bird had previously rejected the Dragons' offer of a two-year deal. There were reports the Wests Tigers among others would look to steal the experienced utility, with the Parramatta Eels and Dolphins both believed to be in the mix at different points throughout the long negotiation period.
However, the Tigers seemed reluctant to commit to a third year, while the Parramatta Eels talks fell apart. As with any off-contract player, The Dolphins were an option but Bird was reportedly tentative about a move to Queensland.
Calling Jack Bird a utility sounds like a disservice, but there is no better description for a player of his talent at several positions. Able to play centre, back row and in the halves at a representative level, Bird is a truly special player.
Bird began his career by lighting up the stage.
In just his second year in the NRL, he was instrumental in the Cronulla Sharks' first premiership and debuted for the NSW Blues. Unfortunately, injuries took their toll and have become a lingering thought whenever his name was mentioned in the following years.
After barely getting on the field for the Brisbane Broncos, there is hope that Bird's worst is behind him after he managed 22 games last season for the Dragons and eight so far in 2022.
He has already lined up in the second row and in the halves this season as Anthony Griffin attempts to work out his ideal starting side, however with Tariq Sims set to leave the club at the end of 2022 after signing with the Melbourne Storm, it almost seems a certainty that Bird will end up on the edge more often than he won't from the beginning of 2023.