Cronulla are poised for respite on the retention front, with exciting playmaker Albert Kelly on the brink of signing a new three-year contract with the Sharks.
His imminent re-signing is a boon for the club in a week in which front-rower Luke Douglas agreed to join the Gold Coast and NSW prop Kade Snowden continued to weigh up an offer from Newcastle.
The Sharks are reported to be dangling a deal in the range of $400,000 a season in the face of Snowden, having extra funds at their disposal because of Douglas’s shock exit to the Titans to take up a three-year contract.
Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan expects to hear of Snowden’s decision by the end of next week but is confident of locking up Kelly, the 20-year-old cousin of Test centre Greg Inglis who has enjoyed an impressive start to the season at five-eighth. Kelly has quickly become the side’s chief attacking spark and formed a healthy halves combination with Wade Graham.
”Albert will be done in the next two weeks,” Flanagan said. ”He’s doing a good job. I’d be lying if I said I knew he could do it this easily at first-grade level but we always knew he was a good player at six. Physically he’s going really well at the moment, too. There’s a lot of traffic being run at him and he’s handled it well.”
Kelly, an under-age star with Parramatta and an Australian schoolboys representative, was lured to the Sutherland Shire during the Ricky Stuart era. His signing in 2009 was lauded at the time as a coup for the Sharks, and, while his formative steps into the NRL last year at fullback were not entirely pleasant, he has begun this year to show the skills that made him in demand as a teenager.