The Cronulla Sharks have locked in four signings for the 2022 season as they continue to build their squad.
It's the first big swoop for incoming coach Craig Fitzgibbon since he officially began duties at the club, although Nicho Hynes and Dale Finucane have signed since he was first announced as the next coach of the men from the Shire.
While Aiden Tolman is being counted as one of the four as a retention, the club have also confirmed the rumoured signing of Sydney Roosters' winger Matt Ikuvalu, as well as the signings of Australian rugby sevens star Lachlan Miller, and Queensland Cup player of the year Jayden Berrell.
The four signings take a step towards completing the Sharks roster for the 2022 season, with Ikuvalu and Miller signed on two-year deals, while it's understood Berrell and Tolman's deals are for a single year.
Ikuvalu is the one of three new additions to the club who is likely to come straight into the starting side. The Sharks have problems with depth in the outside backs, and the former Roosters' flier will likely compete with Sione Katoa for the second wing spot.
Ronaldo Mulitalo undoubtedly will start for the Sharks after a glittering 2021 campaign which saw him selected to make a State of Origin debut before eligibility issues struck.
“Fitzy was a big factor - not so much that he was trying to pull me across - it was just more so that it’s still a home feel rather than going to a completely new club. He’s going to still have the same morals and the system that he brings, so I’m not learning a whole new system,” Ikuvalu told the Sydney Morning Herald.
His departure means Joseph Sualii and Billy Smith will now likely fight over the vacant wing spot at the Roosters.
Miller turned down a deal from a Major League Rugby club in the United States of America to take a punt and join the Sharks. He played NRL as a junior and is expected to be able to play plenty of positions.
Berrell, a dummy half, will play backup to Blayke Brailey at the Sharks, but could push for first-grade minutes after impressing in the Queensland Cup, having also featured in this season's grand final. He is also a former Australian Schoolboy and played for the Queensland under-20s team.
“It happened really quick. I sat down with Fitzy (Fitzgibbon) and Moons (Mooney), loved the vision they had for the club, loved what Fitzy wanted to bring and they had me. I’m definitely really keen to show what I can do,” Berrell said.
Tolman, meanwhile, will look to bring up his 300th NRL game in the opening weeks of 2022, and said he was happy to be returning to the club for a second season.
“I enjoyed my first year at the Club and I’m really happy to be returning for a second,” Tolman said.
“We’ve got some quality players joining us and a new coach in Craig who I’m looking forward to working with.”