The Greg Bird saga took a new twist late yesterday, with the Australian rep now saying he won’t simply walk away to the Super League at this stage. The suspended pivot has now told his management he “won’t walk away” from his $350,000 a year deal at the Sharks – but if the Cronulla club wanted to give him a payout, he will walk away.
With his court case adjourned to April 27, 2009 – it leaves Bird and the Sharks in limbo. Both parties wanting to resolve the situation quickly, but at this stage – nothing will happen quickly as Bird indicates he is prepared to ‘stand his ground’.
After initially hinting he would pack up and head for England, with several UK Super League clubs showing interest – Bird now seems keen to tough things out.
Bird’s manager, former Sonny Bill Williams agent Gavin Orr, confirmed his client (Bird) had now had sufficient time to reflect on the court decision. He is now does not want to simply tear up his 4-year deal with the Sharks.
“He is prepared to dig in,” Orr said last night. “He was very upset after the court case. In the cold light of day, he says he is not prepared to just walk away from a four-year deal when nothing has been proven yet.”
Sharks chief executive Tony Zappia wouldn’t predict how the Sharks board would move on Bird, saying he wanted to distance himself from the process because he is a witness in the case. Zappia said Bird had spoken about the alleged incident with him while Milligan was in hospital after being allegedly hit with a glass.
Zappia also said there had been no resolution over a dispute between the club and a female employee, who has levelled assault allegations against the CEO. Mediation between the two parties took place, and Zappia said a resolution was expected on Monday.
There has been talk that Bird and Orr were orchestrating a campaign against Zappia – a suggestion Orr flatly rejected. It is understood Zappia asked Orr as much during a meeting hours after Bird’s court appearance on Thursday. “I was told about it two months after anything was supposed to have occurred,” Orr said. “It has not come from me.”