Stuart plays down talk over Sharks pair

Cronulla coach Ricky Stuart says reports his NRL club is trying to off-load halfback Brett Kimmorley and prop Ben Ross are purely speculation.

While Stuart said the Sharks were always looking to improve their roster, he was adamant the talk of a trade between Cronulla, St George Illawarra and English club Hull had no basis.

It has been reported the Sharks plan to release Ross a year early from his deal to sign with UK Super League club Hull next season, with Kimmorley set to go to the Dragons in return for prop Jason Ryles in a possibly mid-season switch.

Sharks captain Paul Gallen said he had heard nothing of the potential changes at the club, but hoped the coach and management would keep the leadership group up to date with player developments.

Sharks chief executive Tony Zappia earlier refused to guarantee Kimmorley would see out the 2008 season with the club, but did reveal Cronulla had already been approached about Ryles.

"I believe St George have got some interest in probably releasing him," Zappia told Sydney radio 2KY.

"We did get asked whether we would consider it. I believe there is a meeting today with the St George club and his manager."

Asked could he guarantee Kimmorley would be at the Sharks for the rest of the season, Zappia said: "I can't answer that because I honestly don't have the answer."

On any possible deals being done in the next week, Zappia said: "Possibly, and there might not be any decisions, there might not be any decisions to make."

Zappia said no Super League club had approached Cronulla about signing Ross, but if there was an approach, the club would discuss it.

Ross, who is midway through serving a seven-match suspension, is in his third year of a four-year deal worth a reported $400,000 a season.

"I have to speak to the coach (Ricky Stuart) about that, we haven't sat down and discussed that ... (but) we would look at any situation if it means that Ben can get an extended deal somewhere," Zappia said.

"Ben's obviously been out suspended. There are two new English clubs going in the Super League and there are phone calls occurring by a number of the clubs that have applied to participate in the new structured competition over there, which means that the carrots been dangled over here in Australia."

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