FIRE DOUSED | After returning to finals action in 2015, the St George-Illawarra Dragons struggled un...
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When any team loses 10 games in a row, it will quickly be followed by blood letting and so it was for the Cronulla Sharks after a disastrous season in 2006. Coach Stuart Raper was ceremonially sacrificed in the hope of a brighter future and was promptly replaced by his Australian and Sydney Roosters counterpart, Ricky Stuart.
Without a doubt the greatest failing of the team of 2006 was within the halves, where the experienced duo of Adam Dykes and Brett Kimmorley appeared incapable of offering any direction to the players outside them. It was no statistical quirk that the Sharks lost the vast majority of games in which both Dykes and Kimmorley were present, especially given that the team won the majority of their games when one or the other was off the field injured. For the Sharks to enjoy any success in the coming season, Ricky Stuart will need to either work out the differences between the pair, or - far more likely - sack one of them. Brett Kearney and new recruit Brett Seymour will eagerly await the opportunity to show their ability in first grade should the latter scenario occur.
Seymour in particular will have a point to prove, after his mid-season sacking from the Broncos. After huge wraps in his first season with the club, his form quickly nosedived until his ungraceful departure last season. With some luck, he will develop into a handy halfback under the tutelage of Ricky Stuart.
With the halves running around like headless chickens, the outside backs were given few opportunities to impress, although David Simmons did enough right to score a City jersey. However, with Simmons expected to miss the opening rounds of the new season as a result of off-season surgery, the door is ajar for former Knight, Dustin Cooper, to cement his place at fullback. Meanwhile, the club