Bird signs NRL deal with Titans - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bird signs NRL deal with Titans

07/12/2009 08:27:46 PM Comments (0)

Coach John Cartwright believes a remorseful Greg Bird can lift Gold Coast to a maiden NRL premiership after signing the controversial star to a unique four-year deal on Monday.

"There's never been an issue with Greg's football ability, he's played for Australia and NSW and been a leader in those sides as well," said Cartwright, yet to decide what position to play his versatile recruit.

"The players are all excited. They're all here to have success on the football field and a positive and committed Greg Bird is going to help.

"Greg is a big game player who had success with NSW at a time when it's been tough for them to get a win and I think he can take us all the way."

Bird, who rejected a big offer from French-based Super League club Les Catalans, is locked into season 2010 with the Titans holding one-year options for the following three years to protect them should he breach strict club behaviour rules.

The unusually structured contract was approved by the NRL who wanted to be sure there were water-tight conditions in Bird's contract if he misbehaved.

Bird said the opportunity for a fresh start with an NRL club which had shown him compassion in a very tough period of his life was the deciding factor in signing his deal.

He returns to the NRL after being cut adrift by Cronulla in January and enduring a stressful court case which had it's sequel last month when a conviction of recklessly wounding his girlfriend was quashed on appeal.

Bird and his American girlfriend Katie Milligan admitted initially lying about injuries she suffered in an incident at their Cronulla home in August 2008, blaming them on their flatmate.

Appeal judge Michael Finnane, who cleared Bird last month, accepted their evidence that her injures were an accident, caused when an "agitated" and "irrational" Milligan lunged at Bird with a glass in her hand.

"It hasn't been the most enjoyable 15 months of my life," said Bird on Monday.

"I admit that I handled the situation totally wrong and I'm sorry for everyone involved.

"I'm looking forward to my time on the Gold Coast. I'm out of Sydney and I'm away from everything that happened down there."

Titans chairman Paul Broughton wrote Bird a letter which the 25 year-old said "blew me away".

Broughton urged Bird not to go overseas and to stay home and deal with his issues with the help of the Titans' family support.

"A lot of the work the Titans put forward about the community and what they do and about helping me deal with what I've been through impressed me," said Bird.

"They stood by after what's been an awful time when they could have turned their back and taken the soft option."

Cartwright described Bird, who can play a number of positions, as a footballing "rarity".

"He reminds me a bit of an older-style player," said the former Penrith premiership winner.

"We get accused of being too robotic but Greg is definitely not robotic."

Cartwright said the Titans' players, sponsors and local community groups had been consulted before the deal with Bird was done.

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