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Bird to miss Super League match

11/03/2009 11:52:56 AM Comments (0)

Former Cronulla five-eighth Greg Bird is expected to miss Catalans Dragons' Super League clash with English side Wakefield on Sunday after returning to Australia to prepare for his court appearance next month.

The match was seen as a potential test of whether the French club's star signing would be allowed to play games in Britain, where he was denied a work visa to join Bradford.

Bird opted not to challenge the UK government's visa decision until after his court case, starting on April 27, is resolved.

He has been charged with allegedly assaulting girlfriend Katie Milligan.

British media have reported that it would be up to individual airport immigration officers to decide whether he was granted entry to the UK while playing for Catalans.

A Catalans spokesman confirmed on Tuesday that Bird had returned to Australia and general manager Christophe Levy said the club had ruled him out of this weekend's game.

"We knew about this before he signed for us," Levy told Sky Sports News.

"We had hoped to fly him back in time for Sunday's game but it has not been possible."

Bird is also due to return to Sydney for the court case, but Catalans expect him back from a pre-trial meeting and to be available when they host Bradford on March 21, Sky reported.

They also planned to take him to Leeds six days later.

Bird made his debut for the Dragons as a 23rd-minute substitute in Saturday's 24-22 home loss to Castleford.

The 25-year-old former Test representative drew praise for his performance from Catalans' Australian coach Kevin Walters after setting up a try in his first match for more than six months.

Bird had not played since August 22, 2008, being stood down by the Sharks following the alleged incident with Milligan.

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