2023 Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks Preview

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks will be aiming to improve on their semi-final finish in 2022 when the new competition starts this March.

Preview

SQUAD

Blayke Brailey, Braden Hamlin-Uele, Braydon Trindall, Briton Nikora, Cameron McInnes, Connor Tracey, Dale Finucane, Jack Williams, Jayden Berrell, Jesse Colquhoun, Jesse Ramien, Kade Dykes, Kayal Iro, Matthew Ikuvalu, Matthew Moylan, Mawene Hiroti, Nicho Hynes, Niwhai Puru, Oregon Kaufusi, Ronaldo Mulitalo, Royce Hunt, Sione Katoa, Siosifa Talakai, Siteni Taukamo, Teig Wilton, Thomas Hazelton, Toby Rudolf, Wade Graham, William Kennedy, Josh Finau, Sam Stonestreet, Daniel Atkinson, Max Bradbury. Coach: Craig Fitzgibbon.

BEST SEVENTEEN

1. William Kennedy, 2. Sione Katoa, 3. Jesse Ramien, 4. Siosifa Talakai 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo, 6. Matt Moylan, 7. Nicho Hynes, 8. Toby Rudolf, 9. Blayke Brailey, 10. Royce Hunt 11. Briton Nikora, 12. Teig Wilton, 13. Dale Finucane, 14. Cameron McInnes, 15. Wade Graham, 16. Broaden Hamlin-Uele, 17. Oregon Kaufusi

BEST SIGNING

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The Sharks have signed 23-year-old Oregon Kaufusi, who made his NRL debut with the Parramatta Eels in 2018. He gained more experience each year he was with the Parramatta Eels, playing just two games in his debut year, working his way up to 28 games played in 2022. He is an exciting talent and will hopefully sharpen his skills when he plays for the Sharks for the next few years. 

KEY PLAYER

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It’s hard to go past Nicho Hynes as the key player for the Cronulla Sharks in 2023. He was an incredibly influential player last season, making a great impression during his first season after moving from the Melbourne Storm – so much so, he took home the highly coveted Dally M ‘Player of the Year’ medal. He gelled quickly with halves partner Matt Moylan and became the on-field leader perhaps the Sharks didn’t realise they needed. Fans are looking forward to another huge year from Hynes. 

PLAYER TO WATCH

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William Kennedy at fullback. He was one of Cronulla’s most solid players in 2022 and can only get better with time and experience. He was an exciting new player when he made his debut in 2019, however has only gotten better the more experience he has under his belt. He was one of the Sharks’ best and most consistent last year and will hopefully be able to keep up the same effort coming into the new season, leading his team on the field week to week. 

PREVIEW

The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks have a great squad this season, who will be working season-long towards beating their semi-final finish at the end of 2022. Despite the loss of Aiden Tolman and Andrew Fifita at the end of 2022, the Sharks have some up and coming new names that will, with time, have an invaluable impact on the side, especially under the direction of Craig Fitzgibbon, who had a stellar first year as head coach last year. These new names will also be playing alongside the likes of Nicho Hynes, Wade Graham, and Matt Moylan, who are natural leaders on the field. 

Their first month of football will be a big test for how they will handle the rest of the season, playing three of 2022’s top eight sides, finishing up the opening four weeks with the local derby against the Dragons, of which they have won the last five. 

The halves combination of Hynes and Moylan will be a huge success factor for the Sharks in 2023, assuming both men are at their best and perform consistently throughout the year. The pair are cool and collected partnership on the field, which reflects on the rest of the team. 

Fans will be looking forward to seeing the new players coming through the ranks, while watching their favourite veterans lead, hopefully improving on their disappointing finish to the 2022 season. Some say part of the reason for their top two finish last season was partly due to having an easy draw, however, credit where credit is due, Fitzgibbon and the playing squad deserved the top two finish, it was their best season since their first Premiership win in 2016. 

Fans will be hoping to see the same effort from the Sharks in the 2023 season. 

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