Bird a Bronco but surgery awaits
Jack Bird is officially a Brisbane Bronco.
The former Cronulla Shark was unveiled by Brisbane on Wednesday, sporting his new Broncos playing kit, seven months after the Sharks took it upon themselves to announce the deal.
That move by Cronulla sparked controversy, with the Broncos taking their complaints to the NRL to let their ill feelings be known.
There is an unwritten rule that NRL clubs are not to release information on which club departing players have signed with, but the Sharks let the cat out of the bag with a strongly-worded press release back in April that detailed Bird's intention to work with Broncos coach Wayne Bennett in 2018.
Now just weeks away from pre-season, Bird will fulfil his goal of playing under the most successful coach of the past 30 years.
His arrival at Red Hill coincides with the beginning of Brisbane's 30-year anniversary celebrations, with 2018 marking three decades since the Broncos entered the competition.
There is evidence of this in the videos and photos of Bird across Brisbane's social media pages, with a special 30-year crest present on the jersey Bird is wearing.
There may be a slight delay in when Bird gets to first wear this jersey in a game however, with his new club revealing on Wednesday afternoon that he would require surgery on Thursday to repair his injured shoulder.
The 22-year-old's shoulder caused him plenty of pain at the backend of his 2017 season with the Sharks – missing a number of weeks to try and aid in his recovery and avoid surgery.
Despite his best efforts, surgery is now Bird's only option, with the ligaments in his shoulder needing to be operated on to aid his career in the long term.
Speaking to broncos.com.au, Brisbane High Performance Manager Jeremy Hickmans said although surgery was necessary, a Round 1 Broncos debut was not out of the question for Bird.
"We’ll know more after the surgery but we’re hopeful he’ll be ready for Round 1," Hickmans said.
“Jack’s biggest concern coming to a new club was being in the best possible shape, and getting an operation wasn’t part of that plan.
“But In the long-term it’s going to be better for him and that’s the conversation we had.
“The good thing with shoulders is you can get running pretty quickly to make sure his running volume and fitness is right for the start of the season."
While Bird recovers the Broncos will still be looking for new recruits to fill their cap space for 2018, with a backup half or hooker the top priority.
Brisbane CEO Paul White hinted that another new signing may not be far away, saying that the Broncos "remain active in the market".