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Bird surprised by Catalans captaincy

02/04/2009 03:39:01 PM Comments (0)

NRL bad boy Greg Bird admitted he was surprised to be named captain at his new English Super League club, just weeks before facing assault charges in Australia.

Bird has vowed to repay the faith shown by the Catalans Dragons and spark a revival for the battling Super League side (1-6 record).

The France-based Dragons threw Bird a league lifeline after he was released by NRL club the Sharks in January and a deal with Bradford fell through when he was denied a UK working visa.

The former NSW and Test star is due to appear in court in Sydney on April 27 to face charges of causing grievous bodily harm over an alleged glassing incident with girlfriend Katie Milligan.

Despite the off-field controversy, Bird was named Dragons skipper by new coach Kevin Walters - much to the player's surprise.

"It was a little bit (of a surprise)," Bird told English reporters.

"It is a big honour. But I've captained back home in the NRL and I welcome the extra responsibility.

"I was stuck between a rock and a hard place at one stage and Kevin (Walters), (chairman) Bernard (Guasch) and (general manager) Christophe (Levy) showed faith in me by bringing me over.

"I've not had an opportunity to pay them back fully but it's a long season over here and I'm sure that over the next couple of weeks we'll keep on improving and get a couple of wins on the board."

Bird lines up for a Challenge Cup fourth-round tie against Bradford at Perpignan on Monday (AEDT) aiming for his first win in Dragons colours at the fifth attempt.

While he has not been able to help the Dragons taste victory yet, Bird said he had not been distracted by his looming court appearance.

"I haven't focused on my personal point of view at all really," he said.

"I'm 100 per cent focused on turning the team's season around and getting a win on the board and hopefully building from that."

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