Bird not making Broncos look over shoulder

The only one feeling the pressure at Brisbane after Jack Bird’s signing is coach Wayne Bennett, prop Korbin Sims insists.


Versatile Cronulla star Bird has been pencilled as a possible lock, fullback, centre or half in the Broncos’ line-up next year since confirming his lucrative three-year NRL deal from 2018.

It’s enough to make anyone in the Brisbane squad look over their shoulder.

But Sims claimed the players had spoken little about Bird’s huge signing and believed Bennett was the only one facing a potential headache.

“We haven’t spoken about it too much,” Sims said.

“We will leave it for the media to fantasise about.

“Bird is a fantastic player.

“But I think everyone here feels if they are playing their best footy they shouldn’t have a drama about their position.

“It’s not the players’ worry. It’s Wayne’s worry where he is going to play him.”

Fill-in halfback Kodi Nikorima is expected to feel the most heat after Bird’s signing as he auditions for Brisbane halfback with Ben Hunt (hamstring) sidelined for another month.

It is believed Nikorima will be given the time Hunt is sidelined to prove his worth as a half ahead of Bird’s arrival.

The pint-sized Kiwi international showed glimpses of brilliance in his first game at No.7, scoring a solo try in Brisbane’s last round win over Gold Coast.

Brisbane hooker Andrew McCullough implored critics to give Nikorima more time.

“You can’t just throw Kodi straight in. Getting the confidence to call the plays will take a bit of time,” he said.

“He just needs to do his job – simple. He scored a good try on the weekend by doing what he does best – run the football.

“There are no outside influences. He’s just got to go out play his football.”

Bird’s signature should also make most of Brisbane’s 18 off-contract players anxious such as utility back David Mead.

The ex-Gold Coast flyer has only just broken into Brisbane’s 17 but may be on borrowed time with Bird lobbing next year.

Mead made a memorable Broncos debut two weeks ago as winger Corey Oates’ injury replacement and was kept on the bench for the clash against his old club.

“Jack’s obviously a pretty good player and can cover a lot of positions,” Mead said.

“But I don’t think his signing is going to worry anyone here.”

Meanwhile, Brisbane bench forward Tavita Pangai Junior (knee, finger) is expected to miss three to four weeks.

Either George Fai or Joe Ofahengaue are expected to replace him on the bench in Friday night’s clash with South Sydney at ANZ Stadium.

Winger Jordan Kahu (groin) and Sims (foot) are tipped to run out against the Rabbitohs.