Whilst disappointing in many respects for Cronulla Sharks supporters, rugby league is ultimately a business as they deal with the departure of Jack Bird from the end of the season.
Despite their best efforts to retain the talented utility, the club’s offer did not match that of the Brisbane Broncos and so Bird accepted a multi-million dollar contract to join Brisbane.
Bird, a member of the Sharks’ premiership winning team last year, pleased many fans with his desire and work ethic but the club knows that they cannot be held to ransom by one player.
“While we are always disappointed to see any player move on from our Club, and particularly one of Jack’s talent, it is also important to note that the future of our Club is not built around any one individual,” Sharks CEO Lyall Gorman said.
Those sentiments were echoed by club Chairman Damien Keogh.
“Our Club’s responsibility and long-term strategy are to ensure we allocate our salary cap across the playing group to give us the best chance of sustained on-field success,” said Keogh.
As a member of the Sharks side for several years now, Bird was able to win a premiership, a rookie of the year award at the club and debut in Origin, all achievements he should be pleased with.
“On behalf of the Coaching staff and players I am terribly disappointed that Jack has decided to move on considering he made his NRL debut at our Club, was the NRL Rookie of the Year, made his debut for Origin and won a premiership all within the space of just over two years,” said Sharks coach, Shane Flanagan.
He is leaving but there is still a job to do in 2017 with the Sharks, as Flanagan praised his star centre and the job he has done for the club.
“Since debuting for us in 2015, our Club has played a major role in developing Jack into a State of Origin level player which is a testament to the talent identification and player development systems we have in place.,” continued Flanagan.
“We look forward to steering many more of our talented young players along a similar journey in the years to come.
“While we wish Jack well in his future endeavours, he is a professional and we have no doubt he will continue to give his full focus to his Club and his teammates on and off the field and play a major role throughout 2017.”