After weeks of speculation, Cronulla’s premiership winning centre has decided to move on from the club, and take on a new role at the Brisbane Broncos as of the commencement of the 2018 season.
Jack Bird, one of the game’s finest had been offered contracts from the Newcastle Knights, the Brisbane Broncos as well as a renewal from the Sharks, and after what seemed to be an eternity of deliberation from the player, Bird has now announced signing with Wayne Bennett and the Brisbane Broncos to his current teammates and to the media.
In signing with the Broncos, Bird has also knocked back the Newcastle Knights’ multi-million dollar deal that he was offered some time ago, leaving both Shane Flanagan and Nathan Brown at a loss.
Bird has signed a three-year deal with the Brisbane side, which is at a value of $2.1 million, which is reportedly $350,000 more (per season) than what the Sharks had offered to keep him at the club.
Current coach Shane Flanagan was disappointed with the decision, saying “He made his NRL debut at our club, was the NRL rookie of the year, made his debut for Origin and won a premiership all within the space of just over two years.” Though despite this, Flanagan is confident that Bird will put all of his focus into the Sharks for the remainder of the time he has with them.
With the announcement of this signing, it has left fans speculating as to where he will fit into Bennett’s Broncos, if he will fit in at all – though with the contract he’s been given, he should be on the field each weekend. As a result of the departure of Ben Hunt to the Dragons next season, fans are suggesting he becomes the new halves partner with Anthony Milford. However it is a concern that both Milford and Bird play the same style of football, and that the Broncos need a half with direction, as a combination with someone who wants to run the ball (which both these players are best known for).
A positional change for Darius Boyd is also being thrown up into the air with Bird coming to the side. Another popular opinion for the Broncos’ lineup next season is a shift by Boyd to the halves with Milford, allowing Bird to occupy the fullback position for his new club. This is an option for Bird due to his work in the fullback position earlier this season while Valentine Holmes was out as a result of injury. The issue here is that Boyd is only trained in the backline position, and given they currently have a strong halves partnership, Bennett may not be willing to work on the partnering of Milford and Boyd just yet.
Wherever Jack Bird plays, he will continue to be a superstar of the game and his talent will only grow as he develops as a player under the direction of Wayne Bennett. The Brisbane Broncos are lucky to have won him over.
My personal opinion regarding Bird’s position in the lineup for his new club, is that he may possibly be thrown around for a while, looking for where his best fit is in the club, however eventually I believe he will end up in the halves along with Milford, and during the off season a partnership will begin to develop should that be where he trains, and Bennett can work with and around each players’ style of football.