Wendell Sailor backs Jack Bird to rebound at Broncos after slow start
December 18, 2018
Brisbane great Wendell Sailor felt “sorry” for Jack Bird during his maiden NRL season at Red Hill and believes he was rushed back on to the park.
An unabashed fan of the Cronulla premiership-winner, Sailor expects Bird to regain his swagger in 2019 under the tutelage of new Broncos coach Anthony Seibold.
Bird was restricted to just eight appearances this year because of injury and his season was considered a disappointment.
After off-season shoulder surgery, the former Sharks star did not get on the park until round three before being hindered by a sternum injury which ended his campaign and resulted in him going under the knife a second time.
The 23-year-old was repeatedly linked with a move back to the Sharks, after being spotted in Sydney with former teammates.
Bird is now under pressure to deliver on his reported $800,000 price tag but Sailor said he was never given a chance to deliver his best football under Wayne Bennett last year.
“I feel sorry for Jack,” Sailor said at the Jack Newton Celebrity Classic golf tournament.
“He’s a great kid but his confidence was down and when he got brought in on big money I think he was overawed by the situation, they shouldn’t have rushed him in.
“Even if they took him until round 12 or 13, they should have made him wait. He was underdone and it’s unlike the Broncos to panic.
“There was a feeling they were just under a bit of pressure, I reckon Wayne was under a bit of pressure too.”
Sailor first came across the NSW Origin representative while working as an ambassador for St George Illawarra when Bird was at the club as a junior.
Bird has returned to pre-season training and has shed 5kg as he seeks to help break the Broncos’ longest premiership drought.
Sailor said there was “no question” Bird could deliver on his marquee potential.
“People are forgetting the injury he had,” Sailor said.
“To be able to do what he does at this level, I’ve got no doubt he can recapture that form and be even better over the next couple of years. It’s a bit (in the mind) as well.
“With Jaydn Su’a around, (David) Fifita, (Joe) Ofahengaue and that forward pack, some of those backs like James Roberts are going to play their best football now.”
Source: Courier Mail