Bird could make NRL return

Catalans forward Greg Bird could be set to return to the NRL after his conviction for cutting his girlfriend was quashed.

The former Cronulla Shark player’s girlfriend, Katie Milligan, suffered a broken eye socket and cuts to her eye during an altercation at Bird’s flat in August last year.

Judge Michael Finnane believed the evidence of Bird and Milligan that her injury was an accident, caused when an “agitated” and “irrational” Milligan lunged at him with a glass in her hand.

It means Bird could now earn a new NRL contract, with Gold Coast Titans reported to be interested in his capture.

Titans Managing Director Michael Searle said: “We have allowed court proceedings to take their natural course and now that they have been completed, we will endeavour to speak as a club and with Greg and his partner about his plans for the future,”

“We will also consult with the NRL throughout this process.

“The club has a good track record of working with players who have had previous off-field issues and we are interested in talking with Greg and his partner to see where he believes his future may be headed.”

Bird signed a deal with Super League side Bradford last season, but was refused a UK work permit due to his impending court case. He subsequently joined French side Catalans, and helped to lead them to the Super League play-offs, where they came within 80 minutes of a Grand Final place, losing to eventual champions Leeds.

However, NRL chief David Gallop said Bird’s registration wouldn’t be automatic.

“We fully respect the decision in the court. If a club looks to sign Greg then clearly we need to look at the issue of registration of a contract.

“There’d be a range of factors that we would want some information about. Clearly that club would need to be thinking in terms of how they’re going to help him manage his situation.

“He’s been through a difficult time no doubt but he’s had issues before … he would fall into a category of a player that we would be looking for any prospective club to give us an idea of how they’re going to deal with him.”

It is believed that Catalans boss Kevin Walters is keen to keep Bird in the south of France, after handing him the captain’s armband shortly after his arrival last season.

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