Dragons stand by Bird despite prison sentence

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The Independent Online

The Catalan Dragons are standing by their captain, Greg Bird, and still hoping he will play the rest of the season for them despite receiving a 16-month prison sentence yesterday.

Bird was given the sentence by a court in Sydney yesterday for "glassing" his girlfriend. He was later freed on bail, pending an appeal that might not be heard for several months, theoretically allowing him to continue his career with the French Super League club. He will be missing this weekend against Castleford, however, as he faces another court hearing over an unrelated incident at a night club and the Dragons have put contract talks for next year on hold until they know the result of his appeal.

"When everything is finished he will come to the end of the season and then we will see for next year," said the Catalans' general manager, Christophe Levy.

Meanwhile, the Dragons are likely to return to Barcelona for further matches after the success of their fixture against Warrington on Saturday. There were more than 18,000 in the Olympic Stadium for the first Super League game in Spain and the Dragons' coach, Kevin Walters, said he was in favour of making it an annual event.

Stephen Kearney, the Kiwi coach who has turned down an approach from Wigan, is being linked with Sydney Roosters after the Roosters' coach, Brad Fittler, fined himself $10,000 following a drunken display at a motel. As a result his grip on his job can only be loose. The NZRL would be willing to let Kearney combine his Test job with that role, but not with a post on the other side of the world.

Richie Myler has turned down an improved contract offer from his current club, Salford, according to his agent, Martin Offiah.