The Jetstar Gold Coast Titans have announced the signing of Australian and NSW rugby league representative Greg Bird.
Bird made his first appearance at Jetstar Titans training today after both parties agreed to the terms of a uniquely structured contract.
Bird has signed a one-year deal for next season which comes with an option every year for the next three seasons – making it a potential four-year deal.
The agreement will require Bird to meet the strict requirements of the Jetstar Titans’ Code of Conduct and the NRL’s guidelines relating to player behaviour. The contract will be put forward to the NRL today.
The deal eventuated after a formal approach was made to Bird following consultation with Titans players and other club officials over his potential signing.
Jetstar Titans Managing Director Michael Searle said despite the off-field controversy which has followed Bird over the past 15 months, his recent acquittal had to be taken on face value as the 25-year-old looks to revive his NRL career.
“We accept the verdict of the court recently, but at the same time, Greg is the first to admit he has some issues that he has to put behind him,’’ said Searle.
“After speaking with both he and his partner Katie, we feel the Jetstar Titans is the best possible place for him to do that as they seek assistance in dealing with certain aspects of their life.
“The club has had a good track record with regards to off-field player behaviour and we feel that we can assist him as he looks to achieve his own personal goals.
“We accept the responsibility the NRL has placed on clubs when signing players who have had off-field incidents in the past and Greg will be expected to abide by the strict Code of Conduct the Titans already have in place.
“It must be stressed that we would not do anything to put the reputation of this club in jeopardy. Further to that, members of the first grade squad gave their full support towards Greg being offered an opportunity with the club.’’
Bird said he was excited to be given the chance to again play in the NRL after he was forced to play in the UK Super League with French club Les Catalans while he awaited his recent appeal hearing.
“It has been a trying period for everyone involved but I’m excited that I can now look forward to next season with the Titans,’’ said Bird.
“The Titans are an impressive club and I can’t wait to start training with the team.
“I also have family on the Gold Coast, so that is another reason why I view the Titans as being the right fit.’’
Bird has played more than 100 first grade games for Cronulla (2002-2008) and has also represented Australian (2 Tests) and NSW (4 State of Origin appearances).
He has the size, skill and versatility to be able to play at five-eighth or in the back-row – an asset that Jetstar Titans coach John Cartwright said would further strengthen the club’s roster.
“Greg has proven to be a gutsy competitor at the highest level, so he will bring a real hunger to win with him to the Titans,’’ said Cartwright.
“He is still just 25 years of age and I believe his best football is in front of him.’’