Broncos coach Kevin Walters has poured cold water on speculation Brisbane are shopping Jack Bird around to NRL rivals.
Meanwhile the Rabbitohs could be forced to let injured centre James Roberts go as they face an embarrassment of riches in their outside backs.
Read on for all the latest NRL Transfer Whispers.
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BIRD’S PREMIERSHIP EXPERIENCE COULD KEEP HIM AT BRONCOS
Jack Bird at Brisbane Broncos training, Red Hill. Photographer: Liam Kidston.Source:News Corp Australia
The fact Jack Bird is one of just two players with premiership winning experience is set to save him from being shopped around by the Broncos.
Brent Read revealed incoming coach Kevin Walters wants to keep Bird due to his experience and as injury cover for Kotoni Staggs.
“I specifically asked Kevvie Walters about Jack Bird this week because the rumours have been going round that Brisbane would be happy to let Jack go,” Read said on Triple M.
“Kevvie made a good point that he has only got two blokes here who have won competitions.
“One of them is Jack Bird and the other one is Ben Te’o, who I think the Broncos are going to try and re-sign and add another year to his contract.
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“He said as it stands right now Bird is part of his plans for next year. They have lost Kotoni Staggs to an ACL injury so he will miss a large chunk of next year.
“Jack is a centre option for them as well, so as it stands Bird will be part of the Broncos under Kevvie Walters next year.”
Bird is also vying for the fullback position vacated by the retirement of Darius Boyd.
“It will be interesting to see whether Kevvie gives him a shot at fullback because fullback is a problem for them next year,” Read said.
“Darius Boyd has retired and they have young Tesi Niu but he is only a kid, so maybe Kevvie will look at him as a fullback.”
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ROBERTS ON THE OUTER AT RABBITOHS
James Roberts could be set to follow Wayne Bennett out of Redfern.Source:Getty Images
The emergence of a number of promising Rabbitohs outside backs could force Souths to offload former Origin star James Roberts.
The Rabbitohs have unearthed stars Corey Allan, Jaxson Paulo and Campbell Graham as a centre, which means they may not be able to find a spot for Roberts in their salary cap.
“The Rabbitohs have got a bucketload of outside backs, particularly if they keep Joseph Suaalii if they are able to convince him to stay,” Brent Read said on Triple M.
“Something has got to give and the name I am hearing is that James Roberts is maybe a guy who heads back to open market.
“James has only got a year left on his deal and that is the name I am hearing.”
League legend Mark Geyer believes Roberts’ injury history means that he is out of sight and out of mind and a number of youngsters have overtaken him in the pecking order.
“That wouldn’t surprise me,” Geyer said.
“The guys who are in front at the moment in Corey Allan and Alex Johnston basically you are only as good as your last game and I can’t remember when James’ last game was.
“He seems to be very injury-prone.”
Read believes that Wayne Bennett’s imminent departure at the end of next season could mean that Roberts follows him out the door at Souths.
“Wayne Bennett has been a pretty staunch supporter of James,” Read said.
“I don’t know where Jason Demetriou sits on him. Obviously Jason will be in charge in 12 months time not Wayne.
“But they have got so many outside backs. The way Corey Allan is going and Campbell Graham and they have kept Alex Johnston so they have got a million outside backs and you can’t keep them all.”
RABBITOHS MOVE TO LOCK UP LATRELL
Latrell Mitchell could be set for a contract extension.Source:News Corp Australia
The South Sydney Rabbitohs are looking to extend injured star fullback Latrell Mitchell for a further two seasons.
Brent Read revealed Souths are keen to secure Mitchell’s services and ward off approaches from rival clubs as he enters the final year of his contract at Redfern.
“Souths are keen to tie him down and lock him away,” Read said on Triple M.
“I’m hearing it will be a two-year-deal.
“That is what they hope it is a two-year extension because on November 1 he becomes a free agent and clubs can start talking to him.
“Souths are keen to kick that off and give him a two-year deal through to the end of 2023.”
Originally published asTransfer Whispers: Why Walters wants to keep Bird, Bunnies could let big gun go
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