Jack Bird not eyeing Cronulla No.1 spot

He famously called playing in the centres boring but Jack Bird is content to make the position home this year, ruling out staking a claim for the Cronulla No.1 jersey.

Bird could fill in at fullback for the NRL premiers at next weekend’s World Club Challenge after Valentine Holmes was ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Following fullback Ben Barba’s controversial exit to French rugby, coach Shane Flanagan has a hole to fill.

Barba, Bird and Holmes all spent the 2016 off-season vying for the position.

While Bird has a desire to move closer to the action later in his career, the recently re-signed Holmes is considered Barba’s successor.

Bird, 21, spent part of this pre-season training at fullback while Holmes was still on leave, fuelling rumours he could be set for a permanent switch there.

He says if he does take on the custodian role against Wigan in the World Club Challenge, he will just be keeping it warm for Holmes.

“If it comes up and Flanno ends up putting me at fullback (for the World Club Challenge), I’ll take the role on,” Bird said in camp with the Indigenous All Stars in Newcastle on Wednesday.

“We’ve got Gerard Beale there that can fill in at that position too.

“I had two trials there (last season), it wasn’t too bad, it was my first time playing there at a high level. I really enjoyed it. I’m sure Flanno (Flanagan) has something in mind.”

The Sharks will be without their grand final-winning back three of Barba, Holmes and Sosaia Feki (knee) when they travel to England for the World Club Challenge next week.

NSW Origin representative Bird was a revelation at five-eighth during his rookie year in 2015 but was moved to the centres last year to accommodate the arrival of James Maloney and Chad Townsend.

He described the centre position as “a bit boring” and seemed destined to secure a different spot in the backline down the track.

“(At fullback) you get involved a little bit more than what you do in the centres, you sweep on both sides of the ruck,” Bird said.

“It’s a bit more of a workload but I’m happy enough to do that. If I do get that fullback role, I’m looking forward to it.

“Val was on the Australian tour and I was training at fullback for a little bit there, when he came back, I slotted straight back into the centres.”

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