With the season opener just around the corner we look at how the Cronulla Sharks will go in 2018.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
SIGNINGS: Josh Dugan (St George-Illawarra Dragons), Aaron Gray (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Trent Hodkinson (Newcastle Knights), Matt Moylan (Penrith Panthers), Ava Seumanufagai (Wests Tigers), Scott Sorensen (Canberra Raiders), Brandon Uele (North Queensland Cowboys)
DEPARTURES: Gerard Beale (New Zealand Warriors), Jack Bird (Brisbane Broncos), Manaia Cherrington (New Zealand Warriors), Chris Heighington (Newcastle Knights), Jeremy Latimore (St. George-Illawarra Dragons), James Maloney (Penrith Panthers), Sam Tagataese (Brisbane Broncos), Jayden Walker (Penrith Panthers), Tony Williams (Parramatta Eels), Fa’amanu Brown (Canterbury Bulldogs)
FIRST FIVE: Cowboys (A), Dragons (H), Eels (A), Storm (H), Roosters (H)
WHAT TO EXPECT
It’s hard to know what to expect from the 2018 Cronulla Sharks. The recent player movements bring a couple of fresh combinations, which may take time to jell in the early rounds.
The Sharks needed to address the amount of penalties conceded last season and their poor completion rates, one of the worst in the competition.
Looking at the 2018 roster, the club has a strong pack and will hopefully work well together. If this is the case, there is no reason why the Sharks shouldn’t have a successful season.
Wade Graham will be important to the Sharks in 2018 as co-captain alongside Paul Gallen. Graham was an essential member in 2017, stepping up when necessary. It is highly likely that Graham will do the same in 2018. Graham is an extremely valued player and leader for the club, and his efforts and dedication will assist them throughout the season.
Both Moylan (from the Penrith Panthers) and Dugan (St. George-Illawarra Dragons) signed with the Sharks for the next few seasons; they’ll be essential utilities for them this year and in the future.
Moylan – a direct swap for Maloney – will most likely join Chad Townsend in the halves, creating a fresh new partnership. Moylan’s arrival will allow the two to create a new halves dynamic.
Dugan will play either fullback or centre. His talents and capabilities will be invaluable.
It’s hard to say how well the 2018 draw suits the Sharks, though it doesn’t seem too difficult based on past form.
Due to the necessity of forming partnerships with new players and not having the easiest opening five rounds, the Sharks are likely to struggle early on, though they should manage to gain momentum throughout the year.
Top Tryscorer – Sosaia Feki.
Top Pointscorer – Valentine Holmes.
Club Player of the Year – Wade Graham.
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