Aiden Tolman, the second oldest player in the NRL, has stated that he is keen to play in the 2023 season, despite being off-contract at the end of this year.
At 33, Tolman had played 310 NRL games and while his career is winding down, he isn't finished yet, having played 14 games this season.
The consistent workhorse has made all of those appearances off the bench, but has still played plenty of minutes, averaging a tick over 70 metres per game and tackling at almost 96 per cent efficiency.
In a defensive first set-up led by Craig Fitzgibbon as coach, but backed up by fellow experienced forwards Dale Finucane and Cameron McInnes, who both joined the club this year, it could be enough to see Tolman offered a new deal in the Shire.
Despite that, the club's salary cap position is well known to be a head-scratcher, and it was Tolman, Matt Moylan and Andrew Fifita who were the three names who appeared to be most uncertain regarding their future.
It's understood Moylan has been offered a new deal, pouring more pressure on the contract status of Tolman and Fifita, however, speaking to reporters, Tolman said he wants to keep playing.
"I'd love to keep playing, there's no doubt about that," he said.
"Whether that happens, it's up to me with the way I perform on the field but it's also up to other people as well.
"I think I'm doing a good job but I know that you're only one poor performance away from not getting picked.
"I've just got to focus on what I can do for this team with the way I play."
Tolman, who debuted in 2008, played for the Storm and Bulldogs before switching to the Sharks last year.
Aiden Tolman averages over 40 minutes a game, whereas Andrew Fifita averages half that. Tolman 410 post-contact metres this season, Fifita 250.
Andrew has been a great servant to Cronulla, but it’s time for management to tap him on the shoulder and say “You’ve had a great innings, but everything must come to an end”. He has earned a motza – Cronulla’s best-paid player for years, and the club stood by him and let him play out this contract, rather than retiring him on medical grounds.
So, Andrew can’t complain about being hard done-by if the Sharks tell him that they prefer Tolman for 2023.
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