SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 02: Jack Bird of the Broncos is tackled during the round eight NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Brisbane Broncos at ANZ Stadium on May 02, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The fallout from the Broncos’ horrible, season-ending loss to the Eels continues and looks as though it has claimed its first major casualty.

Former marquee signing Jack Bird has reportedly been either allowed to explore his options for 2020 and beyond, or outright released depending on which report you’ve read.

Either way, it looks almost certain that the 2016 premiership winning centre/utility will be making his way back to Sydney after two horror seasons in the Queensland capital.

Injuries (and other reported issues) robbed Brisbane fans of seeing the best of their big name, and big-money signing. The general feeling on social media is that a split is best for both Bird and the Broncos.

Given his abilities, I find it very difficult to believe he will struggle to find a club for 2020 and beyond, with the Tigers, Dragons and Bulldogs both sides who have already been linked.

It’s not often that an Origin-level centre becomes available in September, but is the 2019 version of Jack Bird worth the risk for struggling clubs?

On pure talent you’d have to try incredibly hard to mount an argument against signing him.

Bird was an absolute machine for the Sharks in 2016 when they won the title. He won rookie of the year in 2015 and sparked a resurgence for the Sharks. His stared on debut for the club and ended a horror losing streak to start the season.

Going back to the 2016 title-winning season, Bird’s right hand combination with Valentine Holmes was the competition’s most dangerous.

He tore sides to shreds at times. Few will forget the magical try he scored in the Shire sun on a Sunday afternoon as the Sharks put the Knights to the sword.

Even more incredible was the pain he played through to help lift that first trophy for the club.

All the headlines were “Bird’s wings clipped” or some variation, but make no mistake Bird played through intense shoulder pain as he knew the club needed him.

The past two years in Brisbane are much harder to judge as he spent the large majority in the treatment rooms.

When he was on the field he hardly lived up to the form expected and paid for by Wayne Bennett and co.

On his way out of the Sharks, he angered fans and officials by stating his desire to play at fullback or in the halves. He then happily lined up in the centres for his new club.

There were rumours of a lack of attitude in training and jokes made about his weight. Truthfully I have no idea what truth (if any) there were to these reports but Bird did look larger than when at his best for the Sharks.

Bird’s injury history is well published so we won’t go through them again here, but it’s certainly worth considering.

Simply put, any club willing to take a punt on young Bird will be nabbing an amazing player, but a player with injury concerns and a player who will likely need special attention retraining.

One thing is for certain is that Bird won’t be able to walk into a contract anywhere near the value of his current (soon to be former) Broncos deal.

Rumours of anywhere between $600,000 and $800,000 were floated. That’s a big investment for a player who hasn’t played in months, and didn’t set the competition on fire when he did.

IF (big if) Bird can re-find his 2016 form, $400,000 suddenly looks an absolute bargain.

This is a player who can play centre, fullback or in the halves. I don’t think his body would be up to a run in the forwards but he’s done it previously. He’s the ultimate utility player and will be in NSW contention if fit and firing.

There is a lot of upside in a potential Bird signing.

He’s a former Dragon and the Red V are planning a cleanout of sorts. Matt Dufty has been told to look elsewhere and Bird can replace Gareth Widdop.

The Tigers need a five-eighth, a centre and a fullback. Take your pick. Bird slots right in.

The Dogs could use Bird in multiple positions, most obviously at centre.

The Titans would be all over this if he hadn’t indicated a return to Sydney is the reason for his request.

It’s hard to see a club having a spare half a mil in their cap as we head into October to take a punt on Bird, but with Ryan Matterson seemingly on his way out of the Tigers, I’d suspect they’ve already organised a meeting with Bird and his management.

If I were a Tigers fan I’d sure be urging my club to take the shot.

Same too if I were wearing a red V.

If Bird can return to his form of the past, the Tigers suddenly have a strike weapon out wide that they’ve lacked.

The Dogs too, Bird would literally walk into their starting line up.

Newcastle needs a strike centre to replace Jesse Ramien, but Newcastle might be a little far from Sydney, although much closer than Brisbane.

I can’t see Bird being a “free agent” for very long.

10 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t think the Knights need a centre they have Moga, Hunt, Matautia and Best. Don’t think the he Tigers need a centre either they have Masters, Jennings, Momirovski, Mybe and Chris Lawrence.

    The Bulldogs obviously could do with Jack Bird but he would most likely have to play centre.
    Which leads me to the Dragons, who are shopping both Matt Dufty and Euan Aiken. We was a junior at the Dragons so he could return home and hopefully get back to his best. He would be able to play either centre or fullback which may stand out to him.

    Think for the Dragons it would be best for him, I’d look to also get rid of Lafai and keep Dufty. And I think you give up on De Belin and maybe get Merrin to return back on the cheap. Pick up Zane Tetevano on a reasonably cheap deal for back up too.

    Out: Lafai JBD Aiken Widdop Latimore
    In: Bird Merrin Tetevano

    1. Sailor/Dufty
    2. Peireira
    3. Bird
    4. Lomax
    5. Pearson
    6. Norman
    7. Hunt
    8. Graham
    9. McInnes
    10. Vaughan
    11. Frizzel
    12. T Sims
    13. Merrin

    14. Field
    15. Lawrie
    16. K Sims
    17. Tetevano

    Reserve backs: Saab, Ravalawa, Sailor/Dufty
    Reserve forwards: Leilua Host Timm Ford

    That’s one of the better forward packs and benches

  2. Another site suggested that he’s going to Penrith. Whether that’s good or bad, not sure? Penrith would have way more cap space than any club to spend.
    If he is going there, he’d be better at centre . As Penrith have plenty of halves.
    That’s if he’s not in the stands injured for the next 2 years.

  3. I think bird would play a roaming lock for Penrith putting Fisher-Harris to the right edge. Plus esan masters is looking to go to Penrith he will play right centre with Whare told to find another club. Plus warea-Hargraves is very close to signing up to the panthers
    Edwards
    Mansour
    Naden
    Masters
    Too
    Luai
    Cleary
    Tamou
    Koroisau
    Wares-Hargraves
    Kikau
    Fisher-Harris
    Bird

    Yeo
    Leniu
    Leota
    Hetherington

  4. Not sure swa9, but good chance Bird is going there. Look at all the big money that the Panthers aren’t paying players now. Remembering that it’s most likely that at least 11 first graders are gone from there this year, when you add in Egan.
    Only bought Koroisau so far. So it’s a good chance a few more players will be there from elsewhere, before 2020 .
    Welch from Melbourne is another possibility. Though why you’d buy a player who’s got a current knee injury is anyone’s guess?

Comments are closed.