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NRL 2022 Key Changes: Cronulla Sharks

19 Feb 22, 9:51AM 0 Comments

Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk

Photo by Sharks Media

In 2021, the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks missed the NRL finals series for the first time since 2014 after sitting in eighth position with just one game left to play.

The club has responded in a big way by going on a huge signing spree that has seen them secure some amazing talent that should fix problems they previously had and see them return to the top eight.

SIGNINGS

JAYDEN BERRELL

Hooker Jayden Berrell is coming off of an impressive 2021 where he was named the Intrust Super Cup Player of the Year and was a crucial part of Wynnum Manly’s run to the Grand Final.

While he won’t start over Blayke Brailey, Berrell will provide the Sharks with great depth in that position and could prove a suitable 14.

 
DALE FINUCANE

Premiership winner and New South Wales State of Origin representative Dale Finucane’s ability as a leader was on display last season when he was named co-captain of the Melbourne Storm.

The 30-year-old will bring a wealth of experience to the Sharks along with an imposing presence if he can remain consistent as he has done for the majority of his career.

NICHO HYNES

Nicho Hynes had a breakout season at the Storm in 2021 when filling in for an injured Ryan Papenhuyzen.

He now has a new challenge ahead of him at the Sharks as he shifts back into the halves, this time, as a starter in the NRL.

 
MATT IKUVALU

Winger Matt Ikuvalu failed to hold down a starting spot in the NRL at the Roosters due to the quality of the players ahead of him; however, that’s not to say Ikuvalu himself isn’t a talented player.

The 28-year-old finally has his chance to excel in the NRL and will look to do so in a Sharks jersey.

CAM MCINNES

In four of the past five seasons, Cam McInnes has been in the top five players for tackles made, missing out on the top five last year through injury.

After spending the majority of his career at the Dragons, the 28-year-old has made the move to their local rivals the Sharks and looks to maintain his defensive excellence at lock.

LACHLAN MILLER

Lachlan Miller has opted to take his career in a different direction after recently competing for the Australian Rugby 7’s side at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

He has crossed codes to Rugby League and been given a chance by the Sharks to make it in our game.

QUESTIONS HEADING INTO 2022

WHO WILL PLAY AT HALFBACK?

Shaun Johnson has returned to the New Zealand Warriors following his stint at the Sharks, leaving the club short at halfback.

Braydon Trindall, Matt Moylan and Luke Metcalf have battled it out all offseason to see who will partner Nicho Hynes in the halves, with Trindall and Hynes combining for the Indigenous All-Stars in last week’s NRL All Stars game.

 
HOW MUCH PRESSURE IS ON ROOKIE COACH CRAIG FITZGIBBON

Following an impressive Rugby League career as a player, Craig Fitzgibbon is stepping into the role of head coach for the first time.

One could be led to believe that the power brokers at the Sharks will give him some leeway when it comes to how his side performs this season.

However, expectations are high at the moment which could see Fitzgibbon held to a higher standard than rookie coaches in the past.

ROUND 1 PREDICTED LINEUP

1. William Kennedy
2. Sione Katoa
3. Ronaldo Mulitalo
4. Jesse Ramien
5. Matt Ikuvalu
6. Nicho Hynes
7. Braydon Trindall
8. Toby Rudolf
9. Blayke Brailey
10. Dale Finucane ©
11. Briton Nikora
12. Siosifa Talakai
13. Cam McInnes

14. Connor Tracey
15. Braden Hamlin-Uele
16. Wade Graham
17. Aiden Tolman

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