Broncos bombshell: Bird set for release
The Brisbane Broncos have granted permission to $800,000 centre Jack Bird to look for a new club and hope to use his money to sign an established playmaker.
After two injury plagued seasons in which he has played only 17 games, Bird and his agent Chris Orr requested the opportunity to negotiate with Sydney-based clubs.
"It was Jack and his manager who approached us," revealed coach Anthony Seibold. "It's a shame injuries have held him back."
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The likes of Canterbury, Penrith and the Wests Tigers would have room in their salary caps but the Sharks are already over the cap for next year, ruling out a return to the Shire.
Bird has often complained of being homesick since quitting Cronulla in 2017.
In 17 games for the Broncos, the 2016 grand final hero scored just two tries and had only two try assists.
If he finds a new club, Seibold will go straight into the market for a new halfback.
The Broncos are desperate to find the right playmaker and will go up to $1 million for a big name.
The likes of Melbourne Storm's Brodie Croft and Canberra's Aidan Sezer have been mentioned as possible targets.
After the 58-0 embarrassment against Parramatta last weekend, Seibold has spoken individually to every player.
It is understood:
■ Hooker Andrew McCullough has been told he will start next year behind Jake Turpin;
■ Five-eighth Darius Boyd has been told there will be changes to the leadership group and that he will not be the captain; and
■ Anthony Milford has been warned he must lift his game or play QLD Cup.
"Everyone knows where they stand going forward," Seibold said. "They've all had feedback.
"There's no game this weekend so we've got to live with that performance for five months."
Seibold refuses to reveal the player who will take over the captaincy from Boyd.
Surprisingly it is unlikely to be Matt Gillett.
"I've got some ideas but it's something I will have to discuss with the board," he said.
Meanwhile, Boyd's old coach Wayne Bennett spoke in support of the 32-year-old star.
"Darius has taken a lot of the blame, he's had a lot of criticism," Bennett said.
"He's probably taken too much of the criticism, but that's the way it goes."
"I know this much, there'd be no harder trainer at the Broncos than Darius Boyd. No one prepares better than he would, that's through 14 seasons with him."