THE Cronulla Sharks have named a 26 man squad for one final trial match before their season opener against the Tigers. Internationals Phil Bailey and Jason Stevens will pull on a jersey for the first time this pre-season after fully recovering from injuries which had kept them from playing in the club's earlier trials.
AT times, watching the Cronulla Sharks in 2003 was more painful than inserting shards of glass under your eyelids. When they weren't throwing away victory in the dying moments with an ill-timed pass or sloppy tackle, they were being trampled by record margins by such premiership heavyweights as the Tigers and the Eels. Every so often they'd craft a performance decent enough to keep a steady trickle of fans coming through the turnstiles, but at almost no stage did they appear ready to tackle the top teams.
A number of surprise omissions marked the announcement of Cronulla's twenty five man squad yesterday as coach Stuart Raper opted for a youth rather than experience. Jason Kent, Pat Gibson and Andrew Emilio - who have all spent considerably periods of time in first grade - were the most notable names missing from the list.
A young Cronulla squad will travel south to Mollymook to play in a trial match against the Raiders' Premier League squad. The game will offer an opportunity for fringe first graders to put up their hands to challenge for a regular position in the top grade.
STUART Raper has named the squad to tackle the Parramatta Eels in tomorrow night's trial in Ballina. The most notable inclusion is David Peachey, who is making his return to the football paddock after his well documented personal problems.
WITHOUT a host of their most experienced players, Cronulla have easily overcome a combined Central Coast team in their first trial for 2004. Star players David Peachey, Jason Stevens, Nigel Vagana and Phil Bailey all watched from the sidelines as their less experienced team mates routed their opponents with the final scoreline favouring the Sharks 60-12.
WHEN Chris Anderson signed with Cronulla, he stated publicly that he wanted to stay with the club for ten years. Cronulla needed a new culture, a winning culture, and Anderson was the man to provide. Only two years later he has found himself jobless, without a club to coach after having been unceremoniously dumped by the club he promised to deliver a premiership to in three years.
FORMER Cronulla coach Chris Anderson is seeking $1.3 million for unlawful dismissal from the Sharks after being dismissed late last year. Anderson had one year remaining on his contract with an option for a further two seasons if the club reached the finals.
THE Cronulla Sharks will officially launch their 2004 season this Sunday at Waratah Park, Sutherland. All supporters are invited to attend to mix with the players, grab a few signatures or register to play league with one of the local clubs.
IT'S traditionally a dangerous practice to base predictions on form from the World Sevens. While fundamentally remaining the same game, the rule changes effectively ensure that individual performances are more important than teamwork and in depth strategizing.