The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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Troubled Sharks utility Greg Bird is reportedly ready to set sail for England for a release fee of just $100,000, but the player's manager and Cronulla Sutherland Sharks officials are saying it is far from a done deal.
Early reports suggest that Bird has quit the club and is expected to sign with either Wigan or Warrington in the European Super League.
Bird would still have to fly back to Sydney in April to face a number of charges for the alleged assault of girlfriend Kate Milligan last August. In the furore that followed, the Sharks sacked Bird.
This month Bird's manager and lawyer delivered the club a 10-page document, in answer to the club's letter which led to Bird's sacking. The Sharks board has reportedly buckled under the realisation that any subsequent legal action and a loss in the courts could cost the cash-strapped club over $1 million - money the club doesn't have.
The Sharks reportedly rejected Bird's initial demand for a $250,000 payment.
There are also suggestion that embattled coach Ricky Stuart wants to replace Bird next year with former Bulldogs bad boy Reni Maitua, who lives in Sutherland. Maitua has also threatened legal action over his recent sacking from the Bulldogs.
While it appears likely Bird will take up the offer to move to England, negotiations are set for another twist with both his management and club stating they are no closer to a resolution.