SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 23: Martin Taupau of the Sea Eagles looks dejected after losing the round 24 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Manly Sea Eagles at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on August 23, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The Sharks are closing in on recently released New Zealand Warrior Shaun Johnson, and Cronulla are also eyeing off his countryman Marty Taupau in another high-profile move.

Taupau is still in the Sea Eagles’ plans for the future, although the Sharks are reportedly waiting in the wings according to the Sydney Morning Herald, in the hope Manly grant him a release from the final two years of his contract.

The Kiwi is one of the most damaging big men in the competition, but if Manly were to release him, it would certainly help them ease their current salary cap squeeze.

Cronulla are also keeping tabs on Rabbitohs youngster Braidon Burns, as the club looks to replace the likes of Jesse Ramien, Edrick Lee and Ricky Leutele in the outside backs.

The Sharks are the clear frontrunners for Johnson after he asked to be released from his Warriors contract during the week, despite having a year to run on his current deal.

Johnson was told he wouldn’t be offered an extension over the summer, and the star halfback then decided to cut his contract short in favour of a move to Australia.

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