SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 24: Ben Barba of the Sharks celebrates with team mate Valentine Holmes after scoring a try during the round 20 NRL match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Newcastle Knights at Southern Cross Group Stadium on July 24, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

The Sharks might have finally ended their Premiership drought after 50 years but there is still a battle to be fought, with a number of star players off contract soon.

Cronulla have less than a month to prepare for November 1, when up to a dozen of their first-grade team will officially hit the open market ahead of the 2017 season.

Jack Bird, Valentine Holmes, Ben Barba, Chad Townsend, Gerard Beale, Sosaia Feki, Matt Prior and Wade Graham are all off contract at the end of 2017 and the Sharks will have to work overtime to keep them all in the Shire.

Cronulla chief executive Lyall Gorman has issued a hands-off warning to suitors of their hottest prospects in Jack Bird and Valentine Holmes, claiming the star duo will not be driven solely by money when signing their next deals.

Long term captain Paul Gallen will retire at the end of 2017 and it’s assumed that Wade Graham will take over, making him another key retention target for the club.

Previous Premiers the North Queensland Cowboys have shown it’s possible to keep a winning side intact, with the club re-signing a host of their 2015 Grand Final winning team.

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