TK's take on the Cronulla Sharks:
- Experience across the board, the addition of Aiden Tolman who averaged 51 fantasy points in 57 minutes played. It will be interesting to see if his numbers decline if he only plays 40-50 minutes.
- The emergence of quality young players such as Sione Katoa, Ronaldo Mulitalo, Sifa Talakai, Toby Rudolph, Braden Hamlin-Uele and Blayke Brailey.
-Injuries to top line players. Matt Moylan has played 19 out of possible 45 games in the last 2 years.
-Their best fantasy player Shaun Johnson isn't expected to be seen till round 10
-Fantasy god Andrew Fifita is now a 35-40 minute player instead of 60-65 minute player
-Their edge forwards of Wade Graham, Briton Nikora and Sifa Talakai miss a significant amount of tackles which hamper their base stats
-Chad Townsends average playing without Shaun Johnson significantly rises from mid 30's to high 40's (more analysis to come)
- Another player who may flourish with SJ missing is Jesse Ramien. SJ had a passing preference on the right edge of hitting the short ball with Nikora or the cut out to Katoa. If you look at the Sharks highlights of 2018 with Moylan at 5/8, he had
a preference for quick ball to his centre. In 2018, Ramien averaged 38 points vs 21 in 2020.
-Toby Rudolf has a higher average starting games and playing less minutes than coming off the bench and playing longer minutes.
Verdict - 6-10 table finish. With the experience in the roster and the addition of Paul Gallen and Luke Lewis to the coaching staff, I expect the Sharks to be very competitive but their star players are past their peak to threaten a premiership run. Tough start to the season without their best player SJ but an opportunity for Moylan, Braydon Trindall and Conor Tracey to compete for a start next to Chad.
Where do you see the Sharks finishing in 2021?