THE salary cap pressure from Cronulla's inaugural premiership is finally biting, with the Shire outfit conceding NSW Origin star Jack Bird is all but out the door at the end of the season.
Bird is believed to be joining Newcastle in 2018 after the Knights upped the ante in recent days with reports of a deal worth as much as $900,000 a year tabled by the cellar-dwellers as they ramp up their rebuild.
NRL360 host Paul Kent told Late Night with Matty Johns on Thursday night that while the Knights were yet to confirm the marquee signing, Flanagan and Cronulla were resigned to losing their gun utility.
"As of this afternoon the Knights wouldn't confirm anything, said they hadn't heard anything," Kent said.
"What I will say is that Cronulla have basically given up chasing him.
"Parramatta are gone, it's only the Knights left. The Sharks have conceded that he's gone but the Knights won't confirm."
The Sharks travel to AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon for a grand final rematch against the Storm.