Play me at lock: Bird’s Broncos message

Jack Bird hopes the next stage of his NRL career will be at lock as he winds up at Cronulla and heads to Brisbane.

Bird left on Wednesday as one of six debutants in Mal Meninga’s Prime Minister’s XIII team, who will play Papua New Guinea on Sunday in Port Moresby.

The NSW State of Origin utility will play No.6 in the PM’s line-up after spending the past two years at centre for the Sharks. He hopes the Broncos will use him at lock where he’d played junior football.

“I haven’t really spoken to Wayne (Bennett) about it,” the 22-year-old told AAP.

“I’ve played centre here (Cronulla) that last two years. I played five-eighth the first year I was here.

“I’m going up to Brisbane now not knowing exactly what position I’m going to play, whether that’s in the halves, or at lock, or in the centres.”

Bird signed a four-year deal in May worth around $4 million. Since then, Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima have settled in as the Broncos’ halves, but centre Tautau Moga is leaving for Newcastle.

“Hopefully, I can put on a bit of size and play lock. I think that’s where I can play some of my best football – in the middle there where I can have my hands on the football as much as possible,” said Bird who debuted at the Sharks in 2015, since playing 66 games and scoring 17 tries.

“I want to try to play like another five-eighth or fullback sort of role. I personally think that’s where my best position is.

“I’ve played lock ever since I was young. I also played some halves and back three but at lock is where I had my most success, in that No.13. Hopefully, I can get that jersey.

“Josh McGuire is there at the moment and playing great football. But I’m sure Wayne has got a plan up his sleeve.”

Bird was speaking Monday night at the Sharks’ presentation night after their early finals exit.

“Obviously it was a very disappointing moment to go out on that kind of note, and then knowing I’m not going to be playing with my good mates any more,” he said.

“I’m sure it’s not the end and I’ll see them around, but I’m going to really miss the club. It will be very hard, very weird to come up against them (in 2018),” Bird said.

“Winning the premiership with these guys is something I’ll never forget. I hold it very close to my heart.”

He has only a casual interest in Friday’s Brisbane-Melbourne preliminary final.

“I will watch the finals but I’m not really keeping one eye on the Broncos. I wish them all the best but I’m still a Shark. I don’t start with Brisbane until November.”

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