Bird in line to make shock Broncos debut
STAR Brisbane recruit Jack Bird could make a shock debut for the Broncos on Friday following the loss of centre Jordan Kahu to a broken jaw.
Kiwi international Kahu is facing up to three months on the sideline after having surgery on the horror injury he suffered in Brisbane's win over North Queensland on Friday night.
Brisbane high performance manager Jeremy Hickmans told The Sunday Mail that Kahu had broken his jaw in "a couple of places".
While Tom Opacic did a solid job replacing Kahu off the bench on Friday night, the Broncos could this week be boosted by the introduction of former Cronulla centre Bird.
The NSW Origin gun is yet to make his debut for his new club after having shoulder surgery during the off-season.
He had been expected to make his return to the field between Rounds 4 and 6 but Hickmans admitted Bird could be back as soon as Friday night's match against Wests Tigers.
"There's a chance," Hickmans told The Sunday Mail.
"We've tested him out quite a bit the last couple of weeks and he's been going well. It's just whether the surgeon is happy with where he is.
"We had never talked about (his return) for this week but whether that (Kahu) injury does push it a little bit, we'll see how he goes.
"We were always going to test him out this weekend, so we'll go through the same process and see where he is."
Bird underwent testing yesterday and is also expected to meet with his surgeon midway through this week in the hope of getting the all-clear.
Hickmans said those plans were in place before Kahu got injured but they could certainly help push Bird's case for a return sooner rather than later.
It is understood the 22-year-old is confident he is ready to make his comeback and Hickmans said that mental grit is something they will need to see from Bird before they tick him off.
"He just has to tick all those boxes of contact and pull up okay and in his own head be confident as well," Hickmans said.
"It's really just about complete comfort with contact. He's only just done full contact for the last two or three weeks. He's pulled up sore a couple of times but nothing too dramatic."
If Bird cannot prove his fitness in time for Friday, it is expected Opacic will be given another shot in the starting side.
The young centre was a standout for Brisbane towards the back end of their 2016 season but endured an injury-plagued 2017, only making his NRL comeback on Friday.