Jack Bird's halves plea to Bennett
Jack Bird had an honest heart-to-heart with Wayne Bennett at Broncos training on Monday and promised he would start delivering on the field if the coach stuck by him.
Bird was not happy with his performance at five-eighth in Brisbane's 34-20 loss to Melbourne Storm after having an outstanding game against the New Zealand Warriors the previous week.
He was moved to the centres when Kodi Nikorima came on against Melbourne after admitting he'd lost his mojo.
Bird and Bennett were deep in conversation as training wound down and the former Cronulla Shark, a straight shooter, told NRL.com that he had made a pitch to the coach about his form.
"I just talked to him about how I am going on the field and told him 'this ain't me' and that I have a lot more to offer than I have been," Bird said ahead of Thursday night's showdown with South Sydney.
"I just told him to stick by me and hopefully I can start finding form soon and start doing the club proud, the fans proud and myself proud.
"I admitted to Wayne that I had an ordinary game on the weekend and that I can do better than that, but he believes in me and knows I can be better than I have been. He is sticking by me."
The 23-year-old is no stranger to the five-eighth role and had a successful season in that position for the Cronulla Sharks in 2015 when he teamed up with veteran Jeff Robson in the halves.
"Robbo is tough and I got along really well with him which helped our combo," Bird said.
"It was one old head and one young head. There was nothing flash about him but he gave 110 per cent and I learned a lot from him. At Cronulla he played more on ball and I played a roaming sort of game. He did most of the kicking and organising and I worked off the back of that."
Bird is a competitor and a thinker. The challenge for the Bird-Anthony Milford combination is to find the right balance between who is in charge of directing the team and who takes on the role of "roamer", as Bird put it.
"It is a good challenge to have," he said.
"I think me and Milf can change our game a little bit to fit the structures that we need at the club.
"Against the Warriors we showed we could do that but we just lost our way a little bit against Melbourne.
"I am happy to take that Robson-role on if I have to and still mix it up and have a run here and there. I am happy to organise."
Bird has returned to the playing arena in 2018 from a shoulder reconstruction and also battled a sternum injury in pre-season.
He has played the last five State of Origin games for NSW off the bench as a utility and is highly valued by new Blues coach Brad Fittler for his versatility and competitive spirit.
NSW legend Andrew Johns has been a massive advocate of Bird's and said recently he would select him in the halves for the Blues.
"That is good for my mindset to think that Joey is looking at me to play five-eighth and I want to play in that position for NSW," Bird said.
"If I did get the opportunity I would do everything for the Blues and play my part, but in saying that I have got to be in form.
"I've played two games there so far for the Broncos and I've had one good game and one pretty ordinary game, so I need to be more consistent in my performances and hopefully I get chosen."