The Cronulla Sharks have confirmed the signing of young outside back Michael Gabrael.

It was believed Gabrael would make the switch from the Canterbury Bulldogs in a direct player swap after it was confirmed that utility Connor Tracey was going back the other way to Belmore.

Now 18 years old, the Sharks have confirmed that Gabrael will join the Shire-based operation on a three-year deal. It means he will join the NRL top 30 under Craig Fitzgibbon until the end of 2026, where he will likely have a shot at making his debut.

The youngster said he was excited to be heading to Cronulla.

"I admire the club and I'm really excited to be here. I'm looking forward to learning from the coaching staff and continuing to develop," Gabrael said.

"I like how the Sharks play fast and I'm keen to work hard alongside the boys."

Gabrael, who began his career with the Parramatta Eels at Harold Matthews Cup level where he was named the team's best back in 2022, linked up with the Bulldogs in 2023 and played at SG Ball level, before also playing for the City New South Wales under 18 team in the annual fixture against Country.

Listed as a centre, Gabrael can also play on the wing or at fullback and could bring some versatility to the Sharks if he does manage to break into first grade over the next three seasons.