St George Illawarra star Jack Bird has no desire to remain in the back row even though his coach described Thursday’s baptism of fire against the Broncos as “brilliant”.
The 26-year-old scored a try and set up another with a silky offload on the edge in the space of eight minutes as the Dragons ran out big winners over his former club, the Broncos.
Bird combined well with Matt Dufty, Ben Hunt and Corey Norman as the Red V finally found some spark in attack, but the former Blues representative could be moved straight back to the centres for the Queen’s Birthday clash with Canterbury.
“I thought he was brilliant,” Griffin said of Bird who was filling in for Origin forward Tariq Sims.
“He hit some really tough lines on the edge, but the fact he did it made room for Dufty and Norman and Hunt around the back. Defensively it was his first game there, so he got a little bit lost…but in general, his effort was enormous.
“Whether he plays there next week or the week after…we’ve got a few people on the sidelines that will come back into the side over the next few weeks.”
Jack Bird excelled in the back row in St George Illawarra’s big win over Brisbane, but he feels like he belongs in the backs. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images.Source:Getty Images
Bird grew up playing plenty of footy in the forwards, but Thursday’s game was the first time he had officially been named amongst the big boys in the NRL.
He spent the bulk of the pre-season training on the edge and as a ball-playing lock but told Griffin with no uncertain terms that he wanted to play left centre because he didn’t think his body could handle the extra workload after back-to-back ACL injuries.
It will be tempting to stick with a winning formula, especially given Bird is willing to do whatever is best for the team, but the strike centre made it clear what his preference was moving forward.
“It wasn’t my decision. It was Hook’s decision, and I didn’t know what to think of it at the start because I thought I was going all right in the centres,” he said on Thursday.
“I just thought it was best for myself and the team at the start of the season to go back to centres, and I still believe that. But Hook’s the coach and he makes the decisions around here.
“We’re pretty short on outside backs lately with a lot of injuries and stuff like that, so it was probably the best decision for me at the start of the year to start in the centres.
“I think Hook has always had a plan to put me in the back row. I enjoy centre and I enjoyed tonight, but I wouldn’t say that I’d stay there forever.”
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