North Queensland Cowboys may catch Bird - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

North Queensland Cowboys may catch Bird

By David Beniuk 25/11/2009 05:30:55 PM Comments (0)

North Queensland have emerged as early favourites to secure controversial star Greg Bird with chief executive Peter Parr declaring few rival NRL clubs could match a Cowboys offer.

Bird is likely to resume his NRL career in 2010 after a conviction against him for recklessly wounding his girlfriend was quashed on appeal on Wednesday, although league boss David Gallop has warned Bird's re-registration won't be automatic.

The Cowboys and Gold Coast have been linked to Bird, with the former Test and Cronulla five-eighth/lock reportedly not keen to return to playing with a Sydney club.

Bird played the last English Super League season with French club Catalan Dragons after being cut loose by Cronulla in January but he is now off-contract.

Parr, who spoke with Bird's manager on Tuesday, said the Cowboys had yet to make a final decision on whether to make an offer for the 25-year-old.

But there's no doubt he'd be a good fit outside Test halfback Johnathan Thurston after the club released five-eighth Travis Burns earlier this month, freeing up significant funds under the NRL's salary cap while other clubs have little room left.

Parr said he'd have discussions with the coaching staff and board and check the NRL's view.

"But at the end of the day we've just let a five-eighth go, we've freed up some money under the salary cap and we'll make some decisions after we have the necessary discussions," Parr said.

"... I don't think it would be as much money as an international player would demand but I think it would be more money than a few other clubs would have at this stage of the season."

The Gold Coast Titans plan to hold talks with Bird but coach John Cartwright noted Bird would have join for opportunity and lifestyle rather than the size of his pay packet because of salary cap restrictions.

"It's been sort of out there that Greg wants to get out of Sydney, there's not many clubs that he would like to play his football at and I think ours was one of the clubs that he said he'd like to play at," Cartwright told reporters.

"At this stage of the year it's all about salary cap and whether he wants to play for an opportunity.

"There's a little bit to move there but there's nothing for an international player ... so it's more about opportunity and I suppose what he's prepared to play for."

Cartwright's chief executive Michael Searle emphasised that the club had a good track record of working with players who've had previous off-field issues.

NRL boss David Gallop said a club wanting to sign Bird, who has a history of off-field misdemeanours, would need to demonstrate how they would manage him.

"We fully respect the decision in the court," Gallop told reporters on Wednesday.

"If a club looks to sign Greg then clearly we need to look at the issue of registration of a contract.

"There'd be a range of factors that we would want some information about.

" ... He's been through a difficult time no doubt but he's had issues before ... he would fall into a category of a player that we would be looking for any prospective club to give us an idea of how they're going to deal with him."

Asked if Bird deserved another chance, Gallop said: "It would depend on how he was going to be managed in any new club."

Meanwhile, Bird's former club Cronulla ruled out any return and were unconcerned about any possible legal action arising from his sacking.

"I think the club made exactly the right decision with the information that was put in front of it at the time," CEO Richard Fisk told AAP.

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