Bronco Bird’s ‘weak spot’ an ongoing issue
BRONCO utility Jack Bird's physical appearance has been a hot topic of pre-season conversation but it's an artificially puffed-up chest and not an inflated midriff that is set to remain.
Following his high-profile move from the Sharks to Brisbane in the off-season, Bird made his club debut in Friday night's controversial 9-7 win over the Wests Tigers wearing a padded guard on his chest to protect a sternum injury he describes as a "weak spot" that will require continued management.
Slotting in to the left centre position vacated by the injury to Jordan Kahu, Bird had 10 runs for 91 metres with two tackle busts against the Tigers as he works his way back into match fitness following off-season shoulder surgery.
But while the shoulder came through unscathed in his first game as a Bronco, Bird said that the sternum injury became an issue following a Round 19 game against the Titans last year and is a physical failing he has to manage.
"My shoulder is sweet but I hurt my sternum last year against the Titans with three minutes to go when I got a whack on it from Dale Copley's shoulder and sat out a couple of weeks," Bird said.
"I haven't grown a full bone in my sternum. It isn't fully fused and has a joint in between it, and I don't know why that is.
"It is weird, but it is a weak spot of mine and so I have to wear a special pad now.
"Once I get a hit on it, it goes again.
"I got whacked on it at training and I had a little bump [against the Tigers] and hurt my sternum again and came off second best, so I'll keep on wearing the pad.
"As my sternum does gets better, I am going to try and get in there and have as many runs as I can."
Photos of Bird in pre-season painted a rather unflattering picture of the New South Wales Origin representative but he denied having a problem with his weight and is confident he will slim down with more game time.
"I'm happy with my weight, I feel good," Bird said.
"I do have to lose some body fat but it comes with time. Being injured doesn't help.
"Give me time and hopefully I can slim down a little bit but I'm feeling healthy.
"I've got pin legs," he added.
"I do weights every day and they're still pin legs.
"I'm not very strong in the gym, I don't lift heavy.
"I just go out there and try and use my strength when I run the ball."