NRL News | Jack Bird contract saga, St George Illawarra Dragons offer, Andrew Johns analysis


Andrew Johns has implored Jack Bird to reflect on his footballing heritage when signing his next contract.

The Dragons star yesterday angrily denied canceling a two-year extension from the club over money differences, saying his main concern was long-term security.

St George Illawarra reportedly offered Bird a two-year deal last year which was quickly taken off the table.

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Speaking to the media yesterday, Bird claimed the only reason the offer was withdrawn was that he was not ready to sign the deal before the deadline the club had imposed on negotiations had expired.

Bird added that he had not seen a revised contract, which was reportedly put on the table by the Dragons, but was adamant that there was no truth to the reports that he was disturbed by the latest valuation of him by the club, estimated at $1.1 million. two years.

Jack Bird opens up on Dragons contract

“Rumors that I turned him down because of the money, that’s far from true,” Bird said of the contract the Dragons pulled from the table last year.

“Obviously I want some security behind my football,” he added.

“I had injuries that almost ruined my career, so I just want some security behind me, and I want to be part of the future of this club.

“I’m 27 this week, if I get a three-year contract it will take me at 30. Then I can sit with my family.

“But I still feel like my best football is ahead of me. I know I want to do it here at the Dragons.”

Bird had his best season in years in 2021, playing 22 games in his first season with the Red V after a nightmarish stint with the Broncos which was marred by a series of serious injuries.

Still, a good season may not be enough to convince the Dragons to blackmail him for more than two years, with his injury history certainly playing a role in the negotiations.

Speaking on Wide World of Sports’ Freddy and the eighthBoth Johns and Brad Fittler encouraged Bird to think primarily about where he is likely to play his best football and give himself a shot at winning a premiership rather than worrying about money or contract length.

They named the Dragons and Eels, a club that has also reportedly shown an interest in Bird, as destinations he should consider, canceling the lure of the Dolphins, even if it means sacrificing money.

Both said they value Bird in the $500,000 per season range, which matches his valuation by the Dragons.

“What does Jack want to do for the rest of his career?” Johns asked.

“He’s 26, maybe these injuries could prolong his career. Let’s just say he plays until he’s 32, he’s still got six years left. What do you want to do?

“Do you want to go somewhere for $100,000 more? Which amounts to $50,000 because you’re taxed.

“Do you want to go to the Dolphins who are going to struggle the first two years? Or do you want to win premierships?

“I understand the Eels chasing him, that would be a good move. But for me, the Dragons, they are starting to rise. They have good young players coming in. Can they win a premiership in the next two years Well, maybe.

“I wouldn’t go to the Dolphins at this point in his career.”

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Fittler added that even if Bird had a good season this year, he was unlikely to be considered in the elite bracket of players who command a contract of $800,000 per season or more, despite the fact that he was signed by the Broncos for just shy of $1 million a season when his stocks soared as a rising star for the premiership-winning Sharks.

“Oh no, I don’t think he’s done enough to be at that level, they’re sort of $800,000 to $900,000 those kind of players, who you want to build a club with,” Fittler said.

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