Solution to Broncos’ Bird dilemma
BRONCOS legend Darren Lockyer says Brisbane's selection musical chairs is damaging Jack Bird and has called for him to be taken out of the halves for a permanent career move to lock.
Bird has played the past fortnight in the Broncos' No. 7 jumper made famous by Allan Langer, but Lockyer believes Brisbane must give the NSW Origin utility clarity to help him settle at Red Hill.
The $800,000 import has endured a turbulent start to his Brisbane career, with Bird having played four positions - halfback, five-eighth, centre and lock - in just seven games in Broncos colours.
Bird, who admits his confidence is down following off-season shoulder surgery, is mired in a worrying form slump ahead of Saturday night's clash against Manly at Suncorp Stadium.
If anyone understands the pressures of a playmaking role at the Broncos it is Lockyer, the club's most-capped player.
The 355-game icon played against NSW Origin great Brad Fittler in his early years as a lock and is adamant Bird can have a Fittler-like influence in the No. 13 jumper.
"Jack isn't a natural seven," said Lockyer, the former Brisbane No.6.
"Maybe going from half to lock over the next month could help him find his feet.
"He's not wearing the seven to play like a halfback, he's basically just playing in the halves. It's hard to know how to utilise Jack because he is so versatile.
"It depends on what style Brisbane want to play, but I like Jack at lock.
"It's where he can be that Brad Fittler type of player as a skilful, ball-running forward."