Zac Lomax powers forward against Gold Coast.
Zac Lomax made a try-scoring start to life on the wing for the Dragons. Image by Jason O'BRIEN/AAP PHOTOS
  • rugby league

Unhappy Lomax can take flight on Dragons wing: Bird

Scott Bailey March 14, 2024

Jack Bird maintains he and unsettled winger Zac Lomax can form a dangerous combination on St George Illawarra’s right edge, adamant playing out of position is part and parcel of being in the NRL.

Lomax continues to attract headlines after being shifted to the wing – having made no secret of the fact his preferred position is the one Bird currently holds at right centre.

Under-contract until the end of 2026, the Dragons have made clear Lomax is not able to negotiate with rival clubs despite interest from rivals including Parramatta.

They have told the outside back they are happy to discuss the situation again next month, once Lomax has settled into the wing role and the opening four rounds are complete.

Lomax showed no signs of his frustration on Saturday night, scoring a try and busting eight tackles in the Dragons’ 28-4 win over Gold Coast.

Former NSW coach Brad Fittler has said Lomax is better served on the wing, and Bird can also see advantages for the Dragons.

Dragons NRL player Jack Bird.
 Playing out of position is part and parcel of performing in the NRL, Jack Bird says. Image by Jason O’BRIEN/AAP PHOTOS 

“He might not like it, but some players play out of position (where) they don’t like and they get the job done,” Bird said. 

“And that’s what he did. 

“He’s a big body. He’s a good target for us to kick to and he’s got a good kick chase and good chat. 

“I’ve been with him for three years at the Dragons and I know his game inside outside. He competes on everything.

“That’s someone I want outside me to get the best out of me … The longer we’re together the better we’re going to get.”

Bird knows the feeling of being shifted around as well as anyone.

He dropped 6kg in the summer to move from the forwards to Lomax’s old position at right centre, and has played in six different starting spots in his career as well as off the bench.

Dragons coach Shane Flanagan.
 Shane Flanagan enjoyed a winning start to life as St George Illawarra coach last weekend. Image by Jason O’BRIEN/AAP PHOTOS 

“I understand where Zac is coming from. He’s played pretty much his whole career at centre,” Bird said. 

“I came from the back row and lock last year into the centres and pretty much took his spot. But that’s football I guess. I don’t pick the team. 

“If Flanno (coach Shane Flanagan) wanted me to play centre, I’d play centre. If he wanted me to play off the bench, I would happily do that. 

“I’m not going to be kicking stones or anything like that, because it’s not my team. That’s just not what I am about.

“Me and Lomax are on good terms. As long as you’re playing footy, and you’re on the field in the first-grade team, you’re happy and grateful.” 

Lomax’s close friend Blake Lawrie said on Thursday the pair had spoken about the situation, and while the prop did not want to divulge details of their private chat he indicated he expected the 24-year-old to see out his deal.

Lawrie also confirmed he was fine to face the Dolphins on Sunday at Redcliffe, after missing round one with a rib injury.