Bird backed for big year with Broncos
One week of NRL pre-season training has been enough to convince Matt Gillett that Jack Bird is finally ready to deliver for Brisbane in 2019.
Gillett admitted he felt for Bird after the former Cronulla star endured an injury-riddled Broncos debut season in 2018, limited to just eight games.
But the Test back-rower was confident Bird's year from hell would be forgotten soon, judging by the way the former NSW State of Origin star had been training since last week's start to Brisbane's pre-season.
"I have had a couple of chats with him and he is very excited about ripping in this pre-season, being fully fit and getting out there starting the season with the Broncos in 2019," Gillett said.
"He's had one of those years that you don't want to have.
"He would rather be out there with the boys riding the highs and lows. He is doing his best to get out there but it wasn't his year."
Bird signed a $4 million, four-year Broncos deal from 2019 but couldn't take a trick at Red Hill.
He discovered on arrival from Cronulla that he required a shoulder reconstruction. An ongoing sternum issue that required surgery then struck him down.
Bird's unhappy time at Brisbane led to speculation he might be tempted to return to the Sharks.
But Gillett backed a fully-fit Bird to finally provide the Broncos bang for their considerable buck next year.
"There was a lot of expectation with Birdy coming up here. He would have felt that pressure," Gillett said.
"His shoulder was a late issue and we had to get that right. There was the sternum as well.
"You've got to feel for Birdy. He came up here and just wanted to put that Broncos jersey on and do it proud but he wasn't able to do that much due to injuries this year.
"He is definitely looking forward to getting the body right and performing from round one next year."