— Cronulla Sharks (@cronullasharks) December 7, 2021
Perhaps the Sharks' biggest coup of 2021 was in the form of Fitzgibbon, who was appointed as the successor to John Morris as Josh Hannay took on the interim duties for the remainder of the season prior to Fitzgibbon's first day in charge.
That time allowed Fitzgibbon to plan a list restructure prior to the off-season's arrival, with Finucane and Hynes both signing from Melbourne following the senior coach's appointment.
Fitzgibbon's signature may have been the catalyst in having the Storm pair sign with Cronulla, with Finucane stating the former Roosters assistant was a key figure in his decision making.
“There are a lot of quality players also at this club that I’m keen to play alongside.
“I’ve been involved in grand finals and premierships and so it’s no secret that it was hard to leave Melbourne.
“But in saying that, I’m really excited about my opportunity here at the Sharks.
“It’s an opportunity to be part of helping mould what the club wants to be moving forward.’’
A finals finish is sure to be in the sights of Fitzgibbon for his maiden campaign, with the Sharks having narrowly finished outside top-eight contention on points differential.
Fitzgibbon will need to lock several key pieces into place first however, with none bigger than Hynes' role in the Sharks' spine.
A sensational season featuring at fullback and in the halves saw Hynes enjoy a breakout year under Craig Bellamy, with questions now being raised over how the speedy utility can be best utilised.
Despite the queries, Finucane is confident in Hynes' ability to flourish in the halves for Cronulla.
“I’ve got full belief in Nicho,’’ Finucane added.
“It was obviously unlucky for Ryan Papenhuyzen (Storm fullback) that he suffered his concussions, but lucky for Nicho in the way that provided his opportunity last year.
“Nicho then showcased what a quality player he is, he showed that he has terrific vision for how to play the game and how to provide for his team.
“In the halves, he’s going to do really well here at Cronulla."
The Sharks will begin their 2022 season against Canberra at GIO Stadium on Friday, March 11.