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Bulls and Rhinos argue over Bird

Greg Bird
Bird faces a court hearing in April

A war of words has broken out between Leeds Rhinos and Bradford Bulls over the Odsal club's signing of Australian international Greg Bird.

The stand-off has been charged over an alleged assault on his girlfriend and was released by NRL side Cronulla.

Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington has described the signing as a "blow to the reputation of the Super League".

Bradford chairman Peter Hood has hit back, claiming such a talent will attract more people to watch the game.

The Bulls beat off competition from a host of English clubs, including Wigan, Warrington and Wakefield, to win Bird's signature.

The 24-year-old has signed a one-year contract at the Gratton Stadium, with an option of a two-year extension.

Hetherington told the League Express newspaper: "The signing is a blow to the reputation of the Super League.

"Players banned in the NRL should not be able to simply sign with a British club.

"We are talking about the credibility of the entire competition here. It cannot become a dumping ground for other people's problems."

I consider bringing his prodigious talents to the Grattan Stadium as a triumph

Bradford chairman Peter Hood on Greg Bird
Hood responded in the same publication: "I think Mr Hetherington may be confused. I don't think Greg has been delisted by the NRL, as he suggests.

"My understanding of what has happened is that his former club have made it a condition of Greg's release that he does not play for another NRL club in 2009 - because they don't want him playing against them.

"I consider bringing his prodigious talents to the Grattan Stadium as a triumph that will help get more people wanting to come and watch the Super League."

Bird must return to Sydney in April to face a court hearing and is still awaiting a visa before he can be cleared to fly to England.



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see also
Bulls swoop for Aussie star Bird
17 Jan 09 |  Bradford
England 'need longer off season'
16 Jan 09 |  Huddersfield


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