Bird's manager denies England move - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bird's manager denies England move

18/12/2008 04:33:44 PM Comments (0)

The Greg Bird saga rolls on after his club and manager firmly denied a release agreement had been reached that would allow the troubled NRL star to play in England next season.

Reports surfaced on Thursday suggesting Bird was negotiating a release of less than $100,000 a year for the term of his four-year contract to head to the UK and join a Super League club, believed to be either Wigan or Warrington.

On a contract of $360,000 a season, Bird was believed to have initially sought a payout of $250,000 per year.

It appears likely Bird will ultimately move to England but both his manager Gavin Orr and Cronulla said on Thursday they were no closer to a resolution in the drawn-out saga.

"There's no release been accepted and I don't know where they've got that information from," Orr said of the reports.

"There's no offer been accepted by Greg Bird or his management."

Sharks chief executive Tony Zappia denied the club had even put a release offer forward and said the situation was still being dealt with by lawyers.

"It's just to-ing and fro-ing at the moment with our legal representatives and individually at different times they've been caught up in court cases themselves," Zappia said.

"They're just trying to touch base with each other, so that's where it's at."

Cronulla had reportedly planned to sack Bird earlier this month but a 10-page document from his legal representatives thwarted that plan.

He dodged another bullet on Tuesday when the Sharks board again decided to postpone a decision on the matter.

The exercise is proving costly for Cronulla, with Bird still being payed despite not training with the team.

It is believed he has received around $100,000 since being stood down by the club in August following his alleged assault of girlfriend Katie Milligan.

He is due to face court in April on charges of reckless wounding, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and two charges of lying to police.

Zappia admitted it was in both parties' best interests to resolve the matter of Bird's future quickly but could not put a timeframe on a resolution.

"I think both parties would like some sort of resolution," Zappia said.

" ... The next scheduled board meeting is not until late January, unless something gets resolved prior to that."

Bird's expected departure from the Sharks would free up significant room under their salary cap and there is speculation the club is eyeing off ex-Bulldogs star Reni Maitua as a replacement.

Maitua is reportedly being courted by South Sydney and North Queensland but neither are believed to be in a position to make a reasonable offer.

Zappia did not rule out a move to the Sharks for the former Test lock, but said the club had not yet considered replacements should Bird leave.

"It hasn't been discussed," Zappia said.

"At this stage we're just looking at the immediate, we haven't looked beyond getting the matter resolved at this point of time."

Maitua's manager Sam Ayoub said his client would consider a move to Cronulla if a firm offer was made.

"There would be as much consideration as any other club that's shown interest because until we see the colour of any club's money, we don't know," Ayoub said.

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