Cronulla Sharks 2024 season preview

Cronulla Sharks 2024 season preview

2023 recap

The Sharks were solid if unspectacular in 2023, as they comfortably made the top eight before being knocked out in week one, as they lost a sixth straight finals match. A run of five wins in six games between rounds seven and 12 put them firmly in the finals picture, and they never looked too likely to stray out of it, while never looking like genuine Premiership contenders either. Nicho Hynes was the man who made Cronulla tick again from the halves, while Ronaldo Mulitalo weighed in with 21 tries.

2023 position: 6th

Key signings

Billy Burns (St George Illawarra Dragons), Michael Gabrael (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)

Key departures

Wade Graham (retired), Tuku Hau Tapuha (released), Matt Moylan (Leigh Leopards), Connor Tracey (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)

Players to watch

With Matt Moylan departing for Super League in the off-season, Braydon Trindall is likely to start the year as the first choice halves partner for Nicho Hynes. Trindall’s yet to reach 20 games in a season for the Sharks, but 2024 will be the perfect opportunity for him if he finds his form early on.

Ronaldo Mulitalo had his most prolific campaign last year with 21 tries and it’ll take someone extra special to knock him off his wing spot. The Kiwi international has crossed the whitewash 65 times in his 87 NRL games, so another double digit campaign should be a formality if he avoids any injuries.

Young gun

At 24, it might be a stretch to call Kayal Iro a young gun, but with just one first grade game to his name, he’s definitely classed as a rookie. The centre made his debut back in 2022 and didn’t make an appearance last year, but a standout couple of seasons in reserve grade have put him on the brink of a regular first grade spot, and he should be first in line if Siosifa Talakai picks up an injury or loses form.

Our prediction – 5th

I’m expecting a similar campaign from the Sharks to last year, with another comfortable top eight finish but no Premiership at the end of it. I like the lack of player turnover and the fact they have such a settled squad, but on the other hand they could do with one or two big name additions to edge them a bit closer to Grand Final glory again.

Darren Notley

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