Brisbane Broncos recruit jack Bird has been training with the halves, as the status of Kodi Nikorima for the upcoming match with the unbeaten New Zealand Warriors is uncertain.
Bringing Bird into action against one of the top teams in the Telstra 2018 NRL Premiership competition seems like a trial by fire of the first magnitude.
Sam Thaiday broke the news that Bird was slotted into five-eighth at Wednesday’s training. Bird is just three games back from surgery on his shoulder and has had a quite start to 2018, something his critics did not fail to point out.
Switching Bird to the halves might permit him to play a larger role in the games that he has to this point.
Thaiday told reporters that Bird was a capable half.
“He went all right actually. With a question mark over Kodi this week it’s good to have a player like Jack Bird.He looked like he was enjoying himself and having fun and that’s what we want him to do.He was out there running around this morning.”
Nikorima has not been completely ruled out for the game with the Warriors, but his corked thigh may ultimately have the final say in the matter. That sort of injury is hard to assess in terms of how long it will require to make it right again, but a utility such as Bird will not be a hindrance for the Broncos. In the words of Broncos prop Korbin Sims, “That’s the good thing about utility players. He’s a natural athlete, he’s really good on his feet, he’s good with his hands, he’s covered a lot of positions.I’m more than confident if Jack needs to fill in anywhere in the team. He can lock up front with me if he wants.”
The Broncos, by their standards, are off to a rocky start in 2018. Through five rounds, they have won just twice and currently occupy the 12th spot on the 2018 ladder, with a -33 point differential that ranks fourth worst in the league.