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2022 Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks Team Preview

The Cronulla Sharks have a huge year ahead of them, and considering the team they have, it should be a successful year.

2022 SHARKS SQUAD

Jayden Berrell, Blayke Brailey, Kade Dykes, Andrew Fifita, Dale Finucane, Wade Graham, Braden Hamlin-Uele, Mawene Hiroti, Royce Hunt, Nicho Hynes, Matt Ikuvalu, Sione Katoa, William Kennedy, Jonaiah Lualua, Jack Martin, Cameron McInnes, Lachlan Miller, Luke Metcalf, Matt Moylan, Ronaldo Mulitalo, Briton Nikora, Franklin Pele, Jesse Ramien, Ryan Rivett, Toby Rudolf, Siosifa Talakai, Jensen Taumoepeau, Aiden Tolman, Connor Tracey, Braydon Trindall, Jack Williams, Teig Wilton.

KEY SIGNING

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The Cronulla Sharks have a few key signings for the 2022 season, with the likes of Matt Ikavalu, Dale Finucane and Nicho Hynes joining the club at the commencement of the year. 

Matt Ikuvalu has signed on after departing from his debut club, the Sydney Roosters. 

Dale Finucane signed on for four years from the Storm. A major factor in his signing on is his adoration and respect for newly appointed coach, Craig Fitzgibbon. 

Nicho Hynes is another exciting addition to the team, also coming from the Melbourne Storm.

Upon arrival, Nicho Hynes discussed his hopes that Finucane and himself can “bring some leadership qualities to help make this into a winning team.” He expressed being impressed with the roster, saying he believes the Sharks have a team with the skills and abilities to make it to the top eight. “Fitzy (Craig Fitzgibbon) is bringing some good structures and systems to build a really good culture.”

One of the biggest signings for the year is actually not a player, but rather their newly appointed head coach in Craig Fitzgibbon, who signed on last year for a 2022 start after the sudden departure of John Morris. Fitzgibbon has been a part of Sharks from a young age – starting out as a ball boy while his father, Allan Fitzgibbon was the head coach of Cronulla between 1988-91. 

KEY PLAYER

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Will Kennedy at fullback.

Kennedy was the standout for Cronulla last year, given plenty of playing time to replace Matt Moylan, who continued to struggle with an ongoing hamstring injury. He was easily the best player for the Sharks and was rewarded for his efforts. With the guidance off his newest team member in Nicho Hynes, Kennedy will surely continue to thrive in the number one jersey.

PLAYER TO WATCH

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There are a lot of players to watch in the 2022 Cronulla Sharks squad. 

Among a strong, talented roster, Wade Graham should be a big player in 2022. He is back and feeling more confident now, after his 2021 season was cut short following numerous concussions that ultimately saw him sidelined after round 14. He has always been a strong player for the Sharks, however, taking over captaincy following Paul Gallen’s retirement seemed to have an impact on his on-field abilities. 

Now that he will be sharing the role of captain with recruit Dale Finucane, that pressure may be alleviated enough for him to focus on games week-to-week. If Graham is in fact able to let go of some of the captaincy pressure, he will easily be a standout for Cronulla in the new season. 

DRAW

Raiders (A), Eels (H), Dragons (A), Knights (H), Tigers (H), Storm (A), Sea Eagles (H), Broncos (A), Warriors (H), Raiders (Magic Round), Titans (A), Roosters (H), Warriors (A), Titans (H), Bulldogs (A), Storm (H), Cowboys (A), Panthers (A), Rabbitohs (H), Dragons (H), Tigers (A), Sea Eagles (A), Bulldogs (H), Knights (A)

PREVIEW

The Sharks’ on-paper roster is nothing short of exceptional. It’s what they do with this team that will determine their success in 2022.

There will be a few big names joining the club at the commencement of the 2022 season. First and foremost, their new head coach in Craig Fitzgibbon, who signed on to replace John Morris. 

A huge factor for the Sharks will be William Kennedy. The superstar young gun is a force, and when at his best is hard to stop. His own skillset alongside that of recruit Nicho Hynes, who plays both fullback and five-eight, will hopefully see him soar through 2022, having a year just as good, if not better, than his 2021 season.

The place of Matt Moylan is up in the air. The 30-year-old has continued his contract into the 2022 season, however, with new recruits and his ongoing hamstring issues, it’s hard to tell where he will fit into the side. 

Shaun Johnson made his departure from the club last year also. He announced that he will finish his career with the New Zealand Warriors, the club with whom he made his NRL debut in 2011. His short stint with Cronulla was impactful, and he will be missed at the club. However, Nicho Hynes is a great recruitment to fill Johnson’s boots. 

After sharing Jubilee Oval with the Dragons, the Sharks will finally be welcomed back home to PointsBet Stadium in Cronulla. They have been away from their home ground due to ongoing renovations to the Leagues Club. Perhaps returning home will bring back a sense of familiarity and comfort for the Sharks, allowing them to produce better performances. They will return home to a roaring crowd in round two against the Parramatta Eels. 

Fans will be hoping for and expecting a good year from the Cronulla Sharks. They have the coaching staff and the team to achieve success, it is only a matter of how well the team consolidates. The earlier Fitzgibbon is able to iron out any kinks in the team, the more likely they will be to play cohesively and achieve the success they will be hoping for. 

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