With surgery booked, Bird's NRL season likely over: Bennett
Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett says Jack Bird's NRL season is all but over after booking the prized Cronulla recruit for surgery.
Bennett said the Broncos were preparing to "get by without him" for 2018 after ex-NSW star Bird finally succumbed to the sternum injury that has plagued him for nine months.
Anticipation: Wayne Bennett has booked his major signing in for surgery.
Bird – who has played just eight games in his first Broncos season – has been booked for surgery on Monday.
The 23-year-old has not been sighted since round 10 but had been hopeful of playing Saturday night's NRL clash against his former club the Sharks.
Asked if Bird's season was done, Bennett said: "It will be close to it.
"They are talking six weeks (after surgery) but we are not going to rush him.
"We have to get by without him.
"If we get him back it will be good if not we will just get on with life."
Bird has not been able to find his feet in Brisbane after requiring off-season shoulder surgery upon his arrival from Cronulla.
He then struggled for form and confidence while battling the sternum complaint once making his Broncos debut.
Bird arrived as the big-money signing – purportedly on $800,000 a season – with the club hoping he could help to snap a 12-year premiership drought.
"It''s been a poor year by Jack's standards but none of it has been in his control," Bennett said.
"We probably won't see much of him at all this year now.
"At least he knows now what is going on. He is getting some surgery on Monday."
Bennett cleared James Roberts for the Sharks clash after resting the NSW centre with an achilles complaint for last round's disappointing loss to Melbourne.
The Brisbane coach is yet to decide whether to replace Kotoni Staggs with ex-Sharks forward Sam Tagataese on the bench.
Bennett said Brisbane had been buoyed by captain Darius Boyd's shock decision to end his representative career and concentrate on the eighth-placed Broncos' NRL plight.
"Darius has got himself in control of his own life which I think is important, he's not sitting around waiting to see if he is in or out or in between [of the Queensland side]," Bennett said.
"He didn't have to have the club in mind [before retiring]. We encourage people to play rep football, we have always done that.
"It was a decision he felt was right for him and he is comfortable with that."
Brisbane will black arm bands against Cronulla to honour founding father Gary Balkin who passed away on Thursday night.
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