Just over two years ago, Jack Bird was the Newcastle Knights number one recruitment target with ex-coach Nathan Brown's roster rebuild in full swing.
At the time, the club threw the bank at the former Cronulla Sharks premiership-winner, only to be beaten to the punch late in negotiations by a reported $900,000-a-year offer from the Brisbane Broncos.
Two injury-plagued seasons later, Knights officials privately claim they dodged a bullet. Which is why the club has hosed down any suggestion they may be interested in the former NSW Blues Origin star after he requested a release from his Brisbane contract earlier this week despite having two years left on his lucrative deal.
Bird is reportedly keen to move back to Sydney with his manager seeking permission from the Broncos to negotiate elsewhere. But there has apparently been no takers at this stage among rival clubs.
Knights CEO Phil Gardner told the Newcastle Herald yesterday Bird was not on Newcastle's radar for next season even though the club is in the market for a class centre.
His injury history would no doubt be a big factor.
Since linking with the Broncos, Bird has played just 17 of a possible 50 NRL games after arriving from the Sharks at the end of 2017 with an existing shoulder problem.
During the past two years, he has had surgery on the shoulder and a sternum operation in 2018 and after playing nine games this season, suffered a serious knee injury that required a reconstruction.
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The Knights have had their own long-term injury issues surrrounding hooker Slade Griffin and centre Tautau Moga with Gardner vowing since than to steer clear of potential recruits with a chequered history. It was for that reason, they ended talks with Issac Luke late last year.
"We've got Tau, we don't need another centre with a dodgy knee," one club insider said.