Aquis Titans Test forward Greg Bird is enjoying his first steps into coaching after taking the reins as assistant coach of Gold Coast’s under-18 Mal Meninga Cup (White) side for 2016.
Having recently been selected in the Indigenous All-Stars to take on the World All Stars in February, Bird will draw on his representative experience with Australia and New South Wales when patrolling the sidelines on match days but admits it is a new experience being in control of his own side.
“I’ve been involved with coaching before with various teams as an assistant coach, but this is the first time I’ve been there at training every week watching the boys as their coach,” he said. “I’m enjoying it though, it’s been a great experience.”
Although a veteran of 213 NRL games, Bird is still very much a rookie coach, learning the tricks of the trade from Titans Elite Player Development Unit manager Jamie McCormack.
“At the moment I’m learning a fair bit off Jamie,” he said. “It’s one thing having the information in your head but it’s another thing getting it across to the players. Having only done a little bit of coaching in the past it’s a balance I haven’t really had to think about too much before but it’s something I’m trying to learn as much about as I can.”
Although still early in pre-season, Bird has had his first test, putting his team through their paces against the Titans under-20s side in a trial match.
“They had a chance against the under-20s to show their wears and push their names forward,” Bird said. “It was the first time I had seen them in a game as it’s still pre-season I’ve only seen them in drills at training so it was good to see what they could do.
“All of the boys played well and held their own, it was good to see where they are at this time of the season. There were some boys who surprised me in terms of what type of players they are so it was good to establish a better understanding of that sort of thing.”
Although still only 31 and with plenty of football ahead of him, Bird is still preparing for life after football, contemplating a step into the coaches box once the curtains close on his career.
“It’s (coaching) something I’m looking into post footy,” Bird said. “I’m enjoying it at the moment so hopefully I can continue that throughout the season. I’ve still got a fair bit of footy ahead of me so I’m just keeping my options open at the moment.”