NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 27: Wade Graham of the Sharks in action during the round 12 NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on May 27, 2018 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

With just over a week to go until the NRL kicks off, we lay down an extended preview for each club. Below is a look at the incredibly hard to predict Sharks.

Ins: Connor Tracey (Rabbitohs), Jesse Ramien (Knights)

Outs: Jayden Brailey (Knights), Sosaia Feki (Castleford), Kyle Flanagan (Roosters), Paul Gallen (retired), Kurt Capewell (Panthers), Aaron Gray (unsigned)

2019 Season:

The Sharks were bounced by old rivals the Sea Eagles on a horror Saturday night in the first week of the finals.

Truthfully the club probably reached it’s aim, finals footy, and not a whole lot more. It took a last round win over the Tigers to secure a second weekend of September venture.

Too many injuries and inconsistencies meant 2019 was never going to be more than a placeholder season, although the emergence of many young stars puts the club in a much stronger position moving forward.

The likes of Mulitalo, Kennedy, Williams, Magoulias, Hamlin-Uele and Nikora all made names for themselves, while the Sharks feeder club, the Jets, looks as though it has hand delivered a beauty in Toby Rudolf.

Predicted Best Player: Wade Graham

If you were asking who the Sharks most important players are, Johnson, Moylan and Dugan are three of your top four, however I’m going with the ultra consistent and super talent skipper here.

Graham’s return to the Sharks in 2019 completely re-shaped the side. His combination with Bronson Xerri left the Eels and Bunnies stars, among others, clutching at thin air.

The retiring Paul Gallen all but hand picked Graham to take over the skipper’s arm band, but Wade no longer has his co-captain to guide him. I expect Graham to take this extra responsibility on become a top leader within the game.

Graham’s kicking game and ball playing skills make him a third “halves option” of sorts. He’s a weapon that nearly every other side lacks.

Predicted Top Scorer: Bronson Xerri

The majority of the club top try scorers will come from the wing stocks, however it is the young speedster centre that will light up the try scoring tally for the Sharks.

Xerri electrified in 2019 however handling errors and bad reads probably cost him three to five tries. After a full off-season in the top squad, expect those errors to go by the wayside and the try floodgates to open.

Xerri is more than likely going to continue in his favoured left centre position meaning he’ll play outside the best ball playing second rower in the game right now in Wade Graham.

He’s had a disrupted pre-season post surgery and will be in the papers almost weekly with links to the Roosters, however a fully fit and focused Xerri could score 15+ tries this year.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 06: Bronson Xerri of the Sharks is tackled during the round four NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the Cronulla Sharks at ANZ Stadium on April 06, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt Blyth/Getty Images)

Recruitment Impact:

All the media talk surrounding Sharks recruitment has been re the “outs” in Gallen, Feki, Brailey and co, but the Sharks have low key recruited very well.

Jesse Ramien left the Sharks an Origin-ready centre yet struggled in the Hunter. Since returning to the Sharks he already looks in better shape and most importantly looks far happier.

Connor Tracey could be the under the radar pick up of the year. He stared for the Sharks against a middle strength Manly side, outplaying Townsend and Trindall.

With young Brailey still largely untested and with Cam King suffering an season-ending injury, Tracey looks just about as perfect a number 14 as you could ask for.

2020 Final Position: 7th

This Sharks side is jam packed full of talent. That cannot be argued. The key here is whether or not the Sharks can keep their stars on the field so that they can deliver the consistency required.

Johnson, Moylan and Dugan, when fully fit, walk into almost any side across the competition, but are all fighting to be ready for round one, with Dugan unlikely to feature for up to a month.

IF, and it’s a big if, the Sharks can put their best 17 out for any length of time, they’re almost a certainty to play finals footy.

That said, if they can’t, a Townsend led halves combo lacks the creativity to go far.

Josh Morris’s future still remains up in the air despite numerous statements to the contrary.

Youngsters like Connor Tracey and Toby Rudolf stared in the Manly trial and surely locked in bench spots come round one. Hamlin-Uele and Williams, if they can continue their rise, can become staples in this side for many, many years to come.

Billy Magoulias looks like a player who is capable of literally anything. Ronaldo Mulitalo is going to quickly become a cult figure in the Shire, and probably very much disliked outside.

Way too many questions to predict anything other than a lower finals finish, however realistically this side can finish anywhere from 5th to 13th.

26 COMMENTS

  1. I think that the Sharks need a bit more sharpness in attack to reach any higher than the predicted 7th.

  2. I cannot see Cronulla making the finals. They are a tough team but can they really mix it with the big boys ?

    They lack attack weapons and most of their games will be low scoring affairs. Being displaced from their home ground won’t help either.

    I have them 9-13 realistically.

  3. Whilst it may be true of all teams, I think of the contenders for the 8, the Sharks are most reliant on keeping their best 17 on the field every week. For that reason I think they just miss out.

  4. I think if Cronulla releases Josh Morris to the Sydney Roosters who play out of the Sydney Cricket Ground while their HOME GROUND at the Sydney Football Stadium gets rebuild, then Cronulla will finish much higher up the ladder. The Sharks Heirachey need to realise that keeping players who want out only bring the entire team down.

  5. With better luck on the injury front than 2019 they’ll finish somewhere between 5th and 8th. Lacking a bit of depth in the front row for mine.

  6. I think Cronulla should keep Josh Morris for the whole season. Just to stick it to the import chickens!
    You’re kidding yourself though Rucky. Lack attacking weapons? Two of the best & fastest centres around. Fast wingers ( other than Morris) & one of the best running halves on his day. Some very good young , creative forwards coming through. Including the hooker.
    They don’t lack fast , attacking players.

  7. Ok lets have a reality check shall we

    2019
    Sharks won 12 games out of 24 – that is a very ordinary performance
    Their “Two of the best & fastest centres around. Fast wingers ( other than Morris) & one of the best running halves on his day. Some very good young , creative forwards coming through. Including the hooker. They don’t lack fast , attacking players” only managed to score 514 points (I admit I thought they were worse than this) which was a whopping 117 less than Melbourne and 113 less than the Roosters.
    With the exception of the Broncos, Cronulla had the lowest points difference out of the top 8

    2020
    Have lost quite a few including long standing Captain and former NSW Captain Paul Gallen. Now whether you thought he was good or not, he had a presence and experience on the field which the younger kids are going to miss. Who is the real leader that takes his place ?
    Josh Morris / no home ground / Johnson, Moylan and Dugan – injury prone

    Doesn’t give you that warm fuzzy top 4 feeling does it ?

  8. Those statements don’t take away from what scores you plenty of points , pace. The Sharks certainly have that .
    Last year they had a long list of injuries, which certainly didn’t help them.
    The 12 wins from 24 , is also misleading. Just Some half decent goal kicking performances would have had them at at least 16 from 24.
    Not so bad is it?
    They won the Canterbury Cup competition. So there’s plenty of talent coming through at that club.
    Morris had his first season, as first grade coach. So finishing at 7th, wasn’t so bad for a rookie first grade coach. Let’s see if he improves, with a year under his belt?
    Yes, they may be a little lacking in experience . Especially if Dugan & Moylan continue to sit in the stands.
    Still, that doesn’t mean that they lack attacking talent.
    If anything, all the negative talk about the cap situation & about money in general surrounding the club , may hold them back more than anything else.

  9. ClownOfPenriff, whats with the Novel mate. All that bullamakanka you wrote and you forgot to write the fact.

    The fact of the matter is last season Cronulla if they kicked their goals, were a top four side. They missed out on 8 competition points due to missing conversions after out scoring their opposition with more tries.

    Get your hand off it ClownOfPenriff.

  10. AdamFloppyRedShoesWiod.
    So you’ve actually agreed with what I said.
    I said Cronulla would have had at least 16 wins last season, with some half decent goal kicking. So what are you on about ? I think you’ve been snorting the powder once too often.

  11. Rucky, To be fair on 2019 there was a number of occasions when Cronulla frustratingly scored more tries than their opponent only to go down by small margins through inaccurate goal kicking. That’s another concern this season if Jonnson is either absent through injury or leaves the kicking boots at home. No Kyle Flanagan and Chad Townsend is a stop-gap kicker at best Who’s the back up kicker? There may be a lack of experience in the outside backs but there’s certainly no lack of pace. Feki, despite the odd issue under the high ball, will be missed. Yes there are a few concerns with depth in a couple of areas but scoring tries shouldn’t be one of them. I’ll be more interested to see how the defense holds up. Good D is pivotal to being a true contender. Gal will be missed in the center on that front.

    Key to the sharks chances could be winning nearly all their home games which are at Jubilee this season. Many are forgetting that small but important point. Yep it’s not far for the sharks fans to travel over to Kogarah and support should be there but it’s certainly not the same as playing at Southern Cross/Shark Park.

  12. I have it on good authority adamhoward is a soft terd.. Time for you to tuck that little Weiner between your legs and waddle around like a duck

  13. I have it on good Authority that Terddy123 always speaks craaap.
    Hence Terddy123 is up early today waiting at the super market doors waiting for his shipments of poopaper to wipe that Original foul mouth.

  14. Quack quack you gonna come to the roosters panthers game big man or are you as I’ve stated above. Just untuck you’re little fella put your big boy shoes on a back your big mouth up. Don’t worry after I break your face I promise I will let you be, I won’t even break your fingers, so you’ll still be able type your crap. I’m a nice bloke hey boy

  15. I Have it on good authority that a 101yr old Wood.Duck wood punch port holes through ya big mouth squire.

  16. Dont worry Pal…..I will meet you under the big cat score board. I aways bash Original.queers up there

  17. The only Woody you will see is when I Turkey/Rooster slap your melon to the ground. Then kick your arse in the head.

  18. EastOfDivide
    March 5, 2020 at 8:47 am

    AdamFloppyRedShoesWiod.
    I said the Roosters will win three straight
    So you’ve actually agreed with what I said.

    I said the Roosters will win three straight.

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