As they struggle to pick their own fullback, the Wests Tigers are eyeing Cronulla fullback William Kennedy for the 2024 season as the Sharks look to lock him up.
Kennedy has been electric to start the year, scoring his career-first hat-trick last week against Parramatta before crossing for the opener against Canberra at GIO Stadium on Sunday.
The custodian started the pre-season under pressure after the sudden rise of both Olympic medallist Lachlan Miller and rookie Kade Dykes, who both made their NRL debuts in 2022.
However, after Miller's release to Newcastle and Dykes' season-ending injury, Kennedy knows he's the No. 1 for the club throughout the entirety of this season, and taking the pressure off his shoulders.
Meanwhile, in Concord, the Wests Tigers could be set to name their third different fullback in four weeks after shifting Adam Doueihi to the back, and registering instant results with Brandon Wakeham at five-eighth.
Daine Laurie started the first two games before succumbing to an ankle injury, while Charlie Staines started there against Canterbury before being shifted to the right wing for the final 29 minutes of the contest.
While Kennedy is keen on re-signing with Cronulla, The Daily Telegraph have revealed that the Tigers are keeping a keen eye on the off-contract fullback as they begin to ponder their own options.
Cronulla somehow let their entire back five off-contract in the same season, though have already announced the retention of Siosifa Talakai, Ronaldo Mulitalo and Jesse Ramien, while Sione Katoa has reportedly agreed to terms as well.
It leaves Kennedy as the last man standing, but he's got no plans of heading elsewhere it seems.
“I want to stay at the club, I love the Sharks,” Kennedy told The Daily Telegraph.
Will Kennedy caps off his first-ever NRL hat-trick! 🦈#NRLEelsSharks pic.twitter.com/LusFUSWNbP
— NRL (@NRL) March 10, 2023
“I've been here since SG Ball, so I would love to stay. What Fitzy (Craig Fitzgibbon) is doing and what he's brought to the club is special.
“Hopefully we can nut something out pretty soon.”
While he sorts out his long-term future, Kennedy's role will get easier in the short term as Cronulla prepare to name Nicho Hynes for the first time this season.