The Greg Bird saga took a new twist today, with Catalans Dragons revealing they are aiming to throw the Australia international a lifeline. The stand-off or back row forward is in limbo after the British High Commission refused him a visa to take up a contract with Bradford Bulls because of a pending court case. The former Cronulla player, 25, is facing serious assault charges relating to an incident involving his girlfriend which he answers in Sydney on April 27. But the Sydney Telegraph claims Bird's management have been in discussions with the Catalans in a bid to gain a backdoor entry into Super League. "I don't believe there will be a problem with him getting into France, like he has getting into the UK," the Catalans general manager Christophe Levy told the Telegraph in Australia. "They look upon things differently to France. "We are looking for some quality forwards and Greg Bird is a quality forward."
Bird has been offered the chance to maintain his fitness by playing low-grade rugby union but it is thought he would forego that opportunity to play in Europe if a working visa was approved. Levy also said he would not rule out the possibility of approaching the Australian back-rower Michael Crocker, whose move to Hull looks to have fallen through after he too was denied a visa. Meanwhile, the Dragons returned to France in good spirits after gaining the first win of the season at the expense of highly-fancied Warrington. They came from 18-6 down at the Halliwell Jones Stadium to win 40-20, overwhelming the home side in the second half with five unanswered tries to atone for their 30-8 home defeat by Huddersfield in their opening game. "It's nice to get out of the blocks and have a win," said their new coach Kevin Walters. "I looked at the table this morning and saw Leeds on six points already so it's important to start the season well and we're pretty happy with one from two. "We were really off the pace against Huddersfield last week but tonight we came out with a lot better attitude." *PA Sport