Why Jack Bird is spitting fire once more after speaking with Shane Flanagan

Shane Flanagan has a plan to get Jack Bird back to playing his best rugby league for St George Illawarra.

After a summer of rigorous, team-focused training, Shane Flanagan, the coach of the St George Illawarra Dragons, stated that supporters can anticipate seeing a different football squad this year.

Flanagan has named his 28-man team for this Saturday night’s Charity Shield at Kogarah against the Rabbitohs.

The Dragons, who finished seventeenth last year and missed the final in every season for the past five years, have been the NRL’s biggest underachievers.

The new coach discussed this year’s focus—performance—with ABC Illawarra Breakfast Presenter Melinda James.

Jack Bird, a former NSW Origin utility who won a premiership with at Cronulla, has promised to return to his best under new Dragons coach Shane Flanagan, stating that he wants to play in the centers next season.

Bird, who is almost ready to resume full contact training following a grueling 2023 season marred by knee and shoulder issues, was a center player in the Sharks’ 2016 grand final victory over Melbourne.

However, Bird has been used almost exclusively in the forwards – either in the second-row or at lock – during the last two seasons with St George Illawarra and the 28-year-old told Flanagan he would prefer to revert to the centres.

“I’ve played my best footy under Flanno at centre, so that’s where I want to play,” Bird said. “Especially with how my body is these days, I want to pick my moments.

“Obviously I haven’t played centre in a long time, so I have to work hard. I’m feeling fast enough to play centre. I’m feeling faster than I was last year, that’s for sure.”

While he hasn’t been able to do any contact training as he recovers from shoulder surgery, Bird has still taken part in ball work and revealed he had been training at centre, as well as second-row.

With Flanagan considering moving Zac Lomax to fullback, Bird could partner Tonga international Moses Suli in the centres.

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