Jack Bird's not fooling when he says he's targeting a 1st April debut for Brisbane Broncos.
The former Cronulla player is to start contact work at training in the next month, after having shoulder surgery in November.
He's confident he's on track for a round-four debut for the Broncos as he continues his recovery, having already made it back on the training paddock and started doing ball work.
Bird said the round four clash with the Gold Coast Titans at Suncorp Stadium on 1st April remained his desired return date.
"I have only just got back on the training field and doing ball-handling skills," he said. "I have just started upper body weights and I don't start contact for another month, and then hopefully I am back playing in two months.
"That's the plan but I just have to stay on top of my rehab and do everything the physios say. I'm looking at round four ideally, maybe round five, but we'll just have to see how I handle the contact in a month."
The 22-year-old had his surgery three months ago and said he'd been strengthened in his recovery by already having overcome some cruel injury blows.
As a teenager, he suffered an ACL injury followed by chronic rheumatoid arthritis in 2012 that had him wondering at the time whether he'd play again.
"So to get through this is just another little hiccup along the road," he said. "I had an ACL injury and got through it, and nearly missed two years with that. I am going to miss a month of footy, and that is hard, but I think I have handled it pretty well."
Brisbane are 5000/1 to win the grand final and 30/1 to finish in the top four.
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