Shane Flanagan says Brisbane should have known about any injuries Jack Bird was carrying when he signed for the Broncos if they had done a medical.
Broncos coach Wayne Bennett confirmed on Wednesday that Bird would require surgery to repair his injured sternum which could rule him out for the rest of the season.
Bird missed the pre-season after joining Brisbane from Cronulla on a four-year deal worth a reported $3.5million due to a shoulder injury that required a reconstruction in November. The surgery saw him miss the opening two rounds of the season.
Bennett accused Cronulla at the time of not passing on any medical information and claimed the Sharks told Brisbane that Bird’s 2017 end of season scan results indicated he did not require an operation for his chronic shoulder problem, which Cronulla strenuously denied.
The 23-year-old has not played since round 10, playing only eight times for Brisbane so far this season, and will see a specialist about his sternum problem on Monday.
Bennett was quoted by News Corp saying Bird would require more surgery and aimed another veiled swipe at Cronulla’s handling of the former NSW representative’s injuries.
“Jack can't play at the moment. He's in pain. He's no good for us if he can't play to his potential," Bennett said.
"It [his sternum injury] wasn't our doing. He came to our club with this injury. We need to get things sorted out for him.”
Sharks coach Flanagan refused to reply directly to Bennett’s comments but told the Leader the onus was on clubs signing players to do their homework.
“Any club signing a player, especially if it’s a marquee player on $800,000 or $900,000 a season, wouldn’t you do a medical? Would you not know about this?” he said.
“There’s no doubt he had a sternum injury. There’s no denying that. He had a sternum complaint for a year. He wore a guard in the 2016 grand final.
“If they had done their due diligence they would have done a medical and known about it. Wayne signed him… it’s their problem. We don’t have to tell them anything. It’s their responsibility.”
The ill-feeling between the clubs sets up a potentially fiery clash at Southern Cross Group Stadium on Saturday night which would have been Bird’s first return to the shire since his switch to the Broncos.
Sharks winger Valentine Holmes, a close friend of Bird’s at Cronulla, told the Leader he was disappointed not to be lining up against his mate.
“It would have been good. I’ve been messaging him heaps. He’s still out injured so he’s obviously a bit disappointed with not playing. It would have been good to play against him,” he said.
“They came off a pretty bad loss so they’ll come out firing. We didn’t get the best start [against the Tigers] so we need to start fast against them and try and maintain their forwards and their go forward.”
The Sharks host the Broncos looking to build on their comeback win over the Wests Tigers last week, their seventh win from their last eight matches.
Just two points separate Cronulla in seventh and South Sydney in third. A win over Brisbane would also give the Sharks a four-point buffer between them and those chasing a place in the top eight.
Meanwhile, Flanagan said he believed a move for Canterbury prop Aaron Woods was “dead in the water” after not hearing from the Woods camp for 10 days.