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Eels in the frame to land Sharks' Bird

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 24/03/2017 Steve Zemek

NSW captain Paul Gallen has confirmed coach Laurie Daley contacted him to ask what he thought about Cronulla NRL teammate Jack Bird.

NSW captain Paul Gallen has confirmed coach Laurie Daley contacted him to ask what he thought about Cronulla NRL teammate Jack Bird.
© Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Parramatta coach Brad Arthur has hailed Jack Bird as a winner as they set their sights on snatching him from Cronulla's grasp.

Ahead of their NRL showdown with the Sharks at ANZ Stadium on Saturday, the Eels have entered the race for the NSW Origin star's highly-prized signature and are reportedly in a position to match Newcastle's three-year $2.7 million offer.

With the Sharks trying to juggle their cap and retain the likes of captain-in-waiting Wade Graham, Parramatta are in a strong position with room to move in their salary cap next season.

Bird is already a title winner at the age of 22 and would be viewed by the Eels as the missing piece in their premiership puzzle.

"We never discuss recruitment," coach Brad Arthur said.

"But in terms of what he offers Cronulla, he's a winner. He's a try-scorer and he's someone that competes for everything."

It's difficult to see where Bird would fit into the Eels' line up after they re-signed five-eighth Clint Gutherson and fullback Bevan French - who occupy two positions Bird is known to favour.

Bird has made no secret that which position he is offered will have a large bearing on who he signs with.

He burst onto the scene as a five-eighth, winning the Dally M rookie of the year award in 2015; and Gutherson is capable of playing anywhere in the backline.

A halves combination of Bird and Corey Norman would have the blue and gold faithful licking their lips and would be a major step in moving beyond Kieran Foran's painful exit last year.

Bird has starred for the Sharks since being moved to fullback over the last fortnight and it's been floated that French could move into the No.6 at the Eels.

Asked why Bird was more dangerous in the No.1 jersey - where he has again been named to play on Saturday night - Arthur said: "He's harder to defend because you just don't know where he's going to pop up and he gets his hands on the footy a lot more."

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