The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks: a top-four side on paper barely makes the eight.
2019 Club Record
Competition Points: 26
2019 Player Achievements
Monty Porter Medal and Pontifex Player of the Year: Chad Townsend
Most Tries: Josh Morris (15)
Most Points: Shaun Johnson (102)
Despite looking like a top-four side on paper, the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks struggled throughout the season, only just making the top eight after their round 25 win against the Wests Tigers. They won 12 and lost 12 in the regular season, before being knocked out by the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in the first week of the finals.
The Sharks had their fair share of injuries to begin the year, which hindered what looked to be promising combinations on paper. They were without resident fullback Matt Moylan for the majority of the season, after his consistent hamstring injury left him out of action. Wade Graham didn’t make his first appearance until midway through the season due to a knee reconstruction during the 2018-19 pre-season. Shaun Johnson suffered a few injuries which gave Chad Townsend the run of the team on the park – a role he was successful in, after winning multiple club awards.
Despite the injuries, the Sharks were lucky enough to see a few debutants shine throughout their lacklustre year. Bronson Xerri and Briton Nikora shared the honour of taking out Rookie of the Year at the club’s awards night. Both Xerri and Nikora became instrumental players in the Sharks’ squad. Xerri scored 13 tries – an impressive effort for his first year.
The Sharks have farewelled a few of their players this season. Kyle Flanagan and Jayden Brailey have moved on to other NRL clubs, while Sosaia Feki is switching countries to play for the Castleford Tigers. They also farewelled long-time player and club captain Paul Gallen, who announced his retirement earlier in the year.
It is difficult to say where the Sharks will go from here. At the end of 2019, they have a few players off-contract, including Kurt Capewell and Scott Sorensen. It is unclear whether these players will play on for Cronulla next year, or if they will move elsewhere. Their contracted roster is full of talented players that could make for a successful 2020 season.
NothingButLeague Player of the Season
Despite a rather disappointing season, there were a few players who stood out from the rest of the squad. Briton Nikora was definitely an invaluable asset to the club in 2019. The versatile 21-year-old appeared in 24 games for the Sharks this season, making his NRL debut against the Newcastle Knights in round one. Nikora was also chosen to represent New Zealand. The Sharks have signed him until the end of 2022. It will be a huge boost for the club in the coming years, as the young gun will only get better as his career progresses.
2020 GAINS AND LOSSES
Kayleb Milne (Melbourne Storm), Connor Tracey (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Jack A Williams.
Jayden Brailey (Newcastle Knights), Sosaia Feki (Castleford Tigers), Kyle Flanagan (Sydney Roosters), Paul Gallen (retired), Isaac Lumelume (Melbourne Storm), Ava Seumanufagai (Leeds Rhinos).