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Being back in the same bedroom of the family home he grew up in and helping to coach Berkeley Eagles under-18s in his spare time, Jack Bird must feel like he never left the Dragons.

Bird has got a premiership ring, State of Origin jerseys and the scars from back-to-back knee reconstructions to remind him of his six seasons with Cronulla and Brisbane but the 25-year-old is enjoying his return to the club he was expected to make his NRL debut for.

While he is still recovering from the second ACL tear in March, Bird reminds those who doubt he can regain the form that earned him six Origin appearances for NSW that he had overcome a knee reconstruction and rheumatoid arthritis before leaving St George Illawarra in 2015.

Those setbacks occurred when the Berkeley junior was 16 years old and sidelined him for 19 months but Bird bounced back and he wants to use his experiences to inspire young players at the Eagles and Dragons.

He also believes St George Illawarra can win a premiership in coming seasons.

"I've dealt with my fair share of demons, I've been through it all before," Bird said. "The last few years, specifically, have been pretty tough mentally but there's no doubt in my mind I can get back to being 100 per cent fit.

Jack Bird leaves the field injured during the 2020 trials.
Jack Bird leaves the field injured during the 2020 trials. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

"I've always been doubted in my life so it's nothing new to me. I'm not here to prove anyone wrong, I'm just here to prove myself right.

"I also want to try and help improve the young fellows coming through. Obviously I have been through a tough time so if anyone is going through a tough time I would like to help them through that."

It's why he decided to help coach the Berkeley under-18s team after a meeting with club officials on Wednesday.

Like Bird, the Eagles have been doing it tough in recent seasons and he wants to give something back to the club that helped him on his way to an NRL premiership with the Sharks in 2016, Origin selection and a lucrative Broncos contract.

"Berkeley hasn't had an under-18s team for a long time so to go back there and help coach my junior team is something I'm looking forward to," he said.

"I actually met up with them yesterday and I am going to go down and help them. It'll be great to get back and help some boys come through the ranks.

"To grow up from nothing and try to make the NRL is something you always want to do because that's what I went through.

"I love Berkeley, all of my family's from there and I am living back at home in the bedroom I grew up in. I've got such good mates I grew up with and a lot of them are playing there again so to get the opportunity to go back and help them is something I'm looking forward to."

Dragons' top five tries of 2020

With just six members of the St George Illawarra squad having played more than 100 NRL matches, new coach Anthony Griffin is likely to be looking to Bird to provide some leadership to his young teammates.

However, Bird's first concern is getting himself fully fit so he can finally make his Dragons debut in round one of the Telstra Premiership against the Sharks at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.

After three successful seasons with Cronulla, Bird managed just 17 matches for the Broncos in the next three years and was released to the Dragons last month.

"It was pretty much the first time I'd been criticised publicly and it was pretty tough because when you go up there and you have got all the pressure on your shoulders you want to go out there and show everyone what you can do," Bird said.

"It was kind of hard to deal with because it's in the paper every day up there, and you're always getting blasted for something that's out of your control. I can't help it if I get injured.

"You want to go out there and show everyone what you can do but when you're injured you can't, and that gets frustrating at times. You try to push yourself a little bit too hard to get back out there then you get injured again.

"That's in the past and my main focus is just to get myself 100 per cent fit for the Dragons and hopefully we can win a comp here. There is no doubt in my mind that we can and we have just got to work hard as a team."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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