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)

Returning Cronulla Sharks star Wade Graham could be facing a start to the season on the sidelines after picking up a left ankle injury during Monday evening's second trial victory over the Canterbury Bulldogs.

While the signs for the Sharks were overwhelmingly positive - and negative for the Bulldogs - in the 30-6 thumping at Shark Park, it was an injury for Graham which will leave new coach Craig Fitzgibbon concerned.

Graham managed just 11 games during the 2021 campaign. The left edge star, who at his best was a New South Wales Origin player, struggled enormously with concussion last year.

While he is out to move on from those issues, he left the field limping during the first half against the Bulldogs after having his ankle turning out after contact in a tackle.

The club are concerned for a syndesmosis injury, which could rule Graham out for anywhere between six and ten weeks, depending on the grade and severity of the injury.

The 31-year-old, who has played 259 NRL games - with 217 of those coming at the Sharks - will go for scans today for the injury after being pictured in a moon boot during the second half following his return to the sideline.

With Round 1 less than a fortnight away, a syndesmosis injury being concerned will mean Graham will not only miss the Sharks' opener against the Canberra Raiders, but a string of other matches during what shapes as a tricky start to the season with matches against the Parramatta Eels, Melbourne Storm and Manly Sea Eagles in the first eight weeks, as well as unknown quantities in the Newcastle Knights and St George Illawarra Dragons.

In his absence, it's assumed Teig Wilton or Siosifa Talakai would jump into the starting side, with the other to occupy a spot on the bench.