Sunday 20 August 2017 / 02:46 AM

RECRUITMENT WATCH: SHARKS

Next up in his NRL Recruitment Watch series, NICK TEDESCHI breaks down who the Cronulla Sharks may be looking at, who they should be going after, and the areas on the roster that need shoring up for 2018.

Needs: Cronulla’s primary need is at outside back with the departure of Jack Bird. Valentine Holmes’ ability to play fullback or wing gives them flexibility but it looks like Josh Dugan has been signed to play fullback. Most of Cronulla’s pack is off-contract at season’s end so there will be a need for mid-level and fringe forwards. Paul Gallen likely gets another year and the club will do their best to keep the core together but the requirement for props and back-rowers is undeniable.

2018 Recruits: Josh Dugan (St George Illawarra), Ava Seumanafangai (Wests Tigers), Cruz Topai-aveai (South Sydney NYC)

2018 Losses: Jack Bird (Brisbane), Fa’amunu Brown (Canterbury)

Off-Contract: Paul Gallen, Luke Lewis, Chris Heighington, Gerard Beale, Sam Tagataese, Tony Williams, Joseph Paulo, Tony Williams, Jeremy Latimore, Daniel Mortimer, Manaia Cherrington

Rumours: The mooted capture of Josh Dugan finally came to fruition this weekend, signed to a three-year deal. Ben Barba was naturally linked to a return to the club but the signing of Dugan has put a definitive end to that. As happens with all premiership winners, the Sharks are expected to lose some big names. Luke Lewis is favoured to depart to Cronulla while there is speculation Chris Heighington may return to the Wests Tigers for a farewell season.

Players to Target: Dugan was obviously priority No.1 and will be a good fit at Cronulla, though his desire to play fullback may cause some tension with the talented Valentine Holmes. Agnatius Paasi would be an ideal signing, while Brenton Lawrence could add some depth up front. Robbie Rochow is an underrated talent who would be a cheaper version of Luke Lewis. A play for Mose Masoe could work, too.

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About the author

Nick Tedeschi

You will not find a more passionate rugby league man than Nick, whose Making The Nut column has garnered a huge cult following over the last decade. The Sydney-based raconteur co-authored The Book of NRL Lists with CBS stablemate WILL EVANS in 2014 and has penned several other books; he joined the CBS team with his weekly Six Up The Middle feature in 2016.

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