Cronulla centre Jack Bird has revealed his intentions to resist overtures from strugglers Newcastle and stick loyal to the NRL premiers.
After snaring North Queensland rookie Kalyn Ponga for 2018, the Knights made public their plan to make a play for Bird.
The 21-year-old NSW Origin representative is off contract at the end of the year and the Knights are desperate to add high calibre players to their roster as they face a third straight wooden spoon in 2017.
“There’s a few rumours there (about going to Newcastle),” Bird said.
“It comes down to where you’re going to be happy playing position-wise, where you see the club going in the future.
“The Knights didn’t go too well last year but they’re building for a big year, they’ve signed Kalyn Ponga from the Cowboys and you saw what he can do at the Nines.
“But I’m happy to stay at the Sharks and we’ll just have to wait for my manager to sort that stuff out.”
Bird got a close-up look at the Knights’ set-up on Wednesday while in camp with the Indigenous All Stars in Newcastle.
He took part in the NRL’s youth leadership summit at Wests Mayfield while the Knights slogged it out in pre-season training just outside.
Bird said he hoped to have his future secured by round three and would ramp up talks with coach Shane Flanagan in the coming weeks.
He refused to rule out going to the Knights but said his preference was to stick with the Sharks.
The Sharks last week signed Australian representative Valentine Holmes to a three-year deal worth a reported $1 million a season.
With Paul Gallen retiring and a host of others – including Luke Lewis – nearing the end of their careers, Bird and captain-in-waiting Wade Graham will be the focus of the Sharks’ retentions efforts.
“I haven’t really spoke to anyone,” Bird said.
“I want to stay at the Sharks but Flanno has what he wants to do. They signed Val on the weekend so once he’s out of the way they’ve still got me and Wade to go through.
“I’m sure I’ll start negotiating with Flanno soon. I’ve had a few chats with him but nothing on paper yet. My future will be decided soon.”