Squad Breakdown: Cronulla Sharks SC roster analysis

We take an in-depth look at the Cronulla Sharks SuperCoach credentials heading into the 2022 NRL season.

NRL Pre Season Squad Breakdown

The new season will provide somewhat of a changing of the guard at Cronulla.

Craig Fitzgibbon comes in as coach, bringing with him big recruits in Nicho Hynes, Dale Finucane and Cameron McInnes.

Shaun Johnson is the big out in 2022, meaning we’ll see a different dynamic in their style of footy.

They boast one of the friendlier runs to begin their 2022 campaign, with clashes against the Raiders (A), Eels (H), Dragons (A), Knights (H) and Tigers (H).

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With our predicted teams, for SuperCoach purposes we’ve included any players returning from injury/suspension in the first three rounds in the starting line-up.

This combines both the likely starting teams and best 17s, as initial price changes occur after Round 3.

Let’s take a look at the Sharks SuperCoach prospects to begin the new season.

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Predicted Team

1. Will Kennedy 2. Ronaldo Mulitalo 3. Connor Tracey 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Sione Katoa 6. Nicho Hynes 7. Matt Moylan 8. Toby Rudolf 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Aidan Tolman 11. Briton Nikora 12. Teig Wilton 13. Dale Finucane

Bench: 14. Braydon Trindall 15. Siosifa Talakai 16. Braden Hamlin-Uele 17. Andrew Fifita

Injuries/suspensions: Braydon Trindall (Round 3), Cameron McIness (Knee, Round 4), Jack Williams (Knee, Round 3-4), Wade Graham (Round 5-6).

Analysis: Matt Ikuvalu will compete for a wing spot with Sione Katoa. Katoa looks to be ahead in that battle.

The halves debate is a hot one as to who partners Nicho Hynes – Matt Moylan or Braydon Trindall?

Well, Trindall was suspended in the trial match for the first two games of the season, so that’s one less decision for Craig Fitzgibbon.

I’m not sure which way it’ll go once Trindall is available, but I’m happy to go on record as saying I don’t think a Moylan-Hynes combination will work at all, and I’m a big fan of Moyza.

I’d be very disappointed if Trindall didn’t get the nod, he’ll be a far better pairing with Hynes, and take immense pressure off the former Storm fullback to control the team. To be fair, Trindall was poor in the trial game, but I tend not too look far into the pre-season fixtures form-wise with already established players.

Moylan’s body can be managed in lesser game time, he’s extremely versatile, and will add stacks coming off the bench. However, Moylan has been handed first crack and can lock down the spot with strong early performances.

Cameron McInnes had minor pre-season surgery and is expected to miss the first month. Jack Williams is in a similar boat and will miss the start of the season, as will Wade Graham following a trial injury, the list is building up.

Aidan Tolman and Teig Wilton will likely earn runs as a result.

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Jesse Ramien $552,900 // CTW // 2021 Ave: 63.1

I do believe Ramien is capable of hitting SuperCoach stardom, whether or not he gets there is another question.

His game is made for scoring, with a huge base, strong offload and insane tackle-busting ability.

He’s just never quite put it all together in the SuperCoach arena.

Outside of one game in 2017, 2021 was his best season yet with a healthy 63 point average, including an excellent 33 base per game.

He scored just five tries in 17 games, so in all likelihood he should be increasing this in the new year.

However, I am concerned that Shaun Johnson isn’t around to steer the side around and deliver in attack.

The Trindall/Hynes combination has plenty of promise, but I think it’ll be slow going early which will impact the scoring of themselves and those around them.

That being said, Ramien is a rock solid option having not scored under 40 last season aside from an injury effected game.

He’s a genuine POD option to start the year.

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Braydon Trindall $414,000 // HFB // 2021 Ave: 47.2

Trindall played 80 minutes in the last 10 games of 2021 at an average of 70.7. He belted two tonnes in that period.

Those numbers are hard to ignore, he could be a perfect stepping stone to a fallen Nathan Cleary at some stage.

He did kick goals, while Nicho Hynes may take over the duties this season. Whoever claims the role will be the difference in me considering them or putting a line through as a buy.

He only averaged 50 minutes last season, so improvement is very likely.

As mentioned above, I think it’ll take time for this side to click, namely the halves combination.

Without Shaun Johnson, he’ll take on more of an organising role. It should lead to more points off kicks, and overall shouldn’t negatively impact him too much.

His two tonnes did come without Johnson on deck which is reassuring.

If he goal kicks I’m interested, if he doesn’t I’ll probably have an early look before jumping on board.

UPDATE: Suspended until Round 3, avoid.

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Wade Graham $354,700 // 2RF // 2021 Ave: 40.5

A little bit of a speculative one here for anyone willing to overlook Graham’s injury history.

He should play an 80-minute edge role again, and he’s arguably underpriced having averaged just 63 minutes last season.

In his eight 70+ minute games last season he averaged 50.5 points.

He averaged 53 points in 2020, and 57 in 2019.

I’d only consider him if the cheapie/mid-range stocks were grim come round 1, but I figured he was worth a mention because the man can play footy, has solid base and attacking upside.

UPDATE: Injured, due back Round 5/6.

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Andrew Fifita $205,100 // FRF // 2021 Ave: 20.7

Not a misread, Andrew Fifita is $205k!

The former SuperCoach gun has been hampered by injuries in recent years, meaning he’s not had SuperCoach relevance for some time.

The middle forward depth is pretty strong, so he may not even get picked in Round 1, so again this is fairly speculative with plenty to play out before actually picking him.

However, in the All Star clash he played 46 minutes, had eight tacklebusts and 13 runs.

Hopefully this shows he’s in a decent state of fitness and regaining some of the talent we know he boasts.

Another one to consider if cheapie stocks are low and if he gets a nod on the bench in Round 1.

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Nicho Hynes $685,900 // HFB-FLB // 2021 Ave: 78.2

Hynes is a gun, but he’s priced at top dollar, is moving positions, and is moving from a club that won 19 straight games last season.

He averaged 65 minutes, so there’s improvement there, but not a substantial amount of extra time to suggest he’ll improve.

While the draw is enticing, he’s a guy I’m expecting to drop cash early, before landing on my SuperCoach radar once bottoming out, hopefully at a similar time to when he starts to evolve his combination with Trindall.

Goal-kicking duties would help his credentials a lot, but I’m still not interested early on.

Cameron McInnes $535,400 // HOK-2RF // 2021 Ave: –

Another popular player that doesn’t interest me early on.

He didn’t play any footy last season following a pre-season ACL injury.

Despite this, he’s still pretty expensive off the back of an outstanding 76 point average in 2020.

Dale Finucane will start at prop and likely play 55-60 minutes, the back-rowers likely go the distance, which means they’ll have two or three bench middles fighting with he and Toby Rudolf for game time.

As such, I don’t see why Fitzgibbon would need to rush him back into an 80 minute role.

I think he’ll be a great purchase as a dual 2RF-HOK at some stage, but I’m hoping he bottoms out before getting an increase in game time down the track.

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Briton Nikora $482,200 // 2RF // 2021 Ave: 55.0

Nikora has averaged between 55 and 60 the past three seasons.

He did play 70 minutes per game last year having been benched on the occasion.

I do expect he’ll be back to 80 this season.

I’m a huge fan, but Shaun Johnson made his life a lot easier.

Their combination was a joy to watch, but I don’t foresee tries coming as easy without SJ putting it on a platter for him, granted he did only score the four tries last season.

He impressed in the All Star clash, putting him on the radar of many eager SuperCoaches.

His base of 40 is okay, but I do feel he has a reliance on attack to match the elite back-rowers, and he’s fairly awkwardly priced at $482k.

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