The Sharks have snared the services of exciting youngster Jack Bird, with the 19-year-old Wollongong junior signing a two-year contract with the club today.
Highly touted at a junior level, Bird, who has a year of NYC eligibility remaining, represented NSW at under 15’s, 16’s and 18’s and was a member of the NSW Under 20’s Origin team in 2014. He will join the Sharks after completing his commitments with St George Illawarra and is set to train with the Sharks full-time NRL squad in preparation for the 2015 season.
While playing a good percentage of his junior career in the backrow, Bird has recently been used in the centres and at fullback for the Dragons 20’s and has been ear-marked for a change to the backline at the Sharks.
He has played a leading role in the success of the Dragons NYC teams’ push into the Grand Final qualifier in 2014 and hopes to finish this year on a positive note before making the move to the Sharks next season.
Sharks Football Manager Darren Mooney in announcing the signing predicted a bright future for Bird at the Cronulla club.
“He is an outstanding talent, which is shown by his extensive junior representative background,” Mooney said. “We are confident Jack can make the transition from the NYC into the NRL and we will give him every opportunity to make that step.
“We’re thrilled he has decided to join us next year, we think he can learn from the likes of Paul Gallen, Luke Lewis and our other senior players and are confident he can develop into a quality NRL player.”
An Illawarra junior having played for the Berkley Eagles, then the Steelers in their junior representative Matthews Cup and SG Ball teams, Bird is currently in his second season in the NYC with the Dragons.
Rated by commentators as one of the best on the field in the Dragons finals win over minor premiers Newcastle last weekend, Bird will attempt to steer his side into a Grand Final against a yet to be determined opponent next week.
The signing of Bird complements the recent acquisitions of experienced Bulldogs hooker Michael Ennis and returning local junior Mitch Brown and when added to fellow young guns already at the Sharks such as Valentine Holmes, Fa’amanu Brown and Jacob Gagan, points to a solid playing roster and a positive 2015 ahead.
The Sharks were looking to announce more player signings in the coming days.