SQUADS: Betfred Championship - 2023 Round 2
38 hours ago | LeagueUnlimited Media
The 2021 season saw the Sharks make the shock decision to dump their coach John Morris, who had performed admirably since taking over from banned Premiership winning coach Shane Flanagan at ridiculously short notice in early 2019.
The Sharks reached the finals, just, in 2019 and 2020 before Morris quit after seeing the writing on the wall early in 2021. The Sharks rallied late but a last round loss to Melbourne saw them drop out of the finals race.
Craig Fitzgibbon was named as his replacement while still working as an assistant coach at the Roosters in 2021, but promptly began making some roster changes, which had a huge and immediately positive impact on the club.
Many pundits believed the Sharks would continue sliding further down the ladder in 2022, but Fitzgibbon's chargers did quite the opposite, finishing second on the ladder behind eventual Premiers Penrith, in what can only be described as a brilliant debut season as coach.
The acquisition of Storm stars Dale Finucane and Nicho Hynes were brilliant and paid immediate dividends. Finucane's leadership and defensive strength made the Sharks middle rock solid in defence. Hynes took to the role of halfback like a Shark to water and finished the season as a clear Dally M medal winner.
Round 12 - The Sharks loss to the Roosters in Round 12 was their 7th straight week where they followed up a win with a loss. The team had a bye the following week and used that time to sort out their defence and improve their consistency. They won all bar one of their remaining 12 regular season games, the solitary loss coming against Penrith. This run saw them rise from 7th on the ladder to 2nd.
Hynes at halfback. Hynes had played just 1 game as a halfback in the NRL prior to joining the Sharks, but he was so comfortable in the role from Round 1, that it undoubtedly put the minds of everyone at the club and fans alike, at rest. Hynes goal kicking was poor to start the season but was vastly improved and very reliable by the end of the year. He ended the year having scored 194 points, the 5th highest season tally for the Sharks since 1998.
The Cameron McInnes tactic. McInnes played well all year, this isn't a criticism of his form. More about the role he had. He was mostly covering the lock role, but the Sharks had a wealth of forward depth, especially in the middle where McInnes played, that he wasn't really needed, especially given his size compared to the other forwards. He will almost certainly be a bench utility in 2023 at most.
|1||Mar 11th||Fri 6:00pm||A||Canberra||L||19||-||24||GIO||15,224||6th|
|2||Mar 19th||Sat 5:30pm||H||Parramatta||W||18||-||16||Pointsbet||11,459||11th|
|3||Mar 24th||Thu 7:50pm||A||St Geo Illa||W||36||-||12||WIN||10,122||5th|
|4||Apr 1st||Fri 6:00pm||H||Newcastle||W||18||-||0||Pointsbet||8,927||3rd|
|5||Apr 10th||Sun 4:00pm||H||Wests Tigers||W||30||-||4||Pointsbet||11,500||2nd|
|6||Apr 16th||Sat 7:30pm||A||Melbourne||L||18||-||34||AAMI Park||16,286||4th|
|7||Apr 21st||Thu 7:50pm||H||Manly||W||34||-||22||Pointsbet||9,611||3rd|
|8||Apr 28th||Thu 7:50pm||A||Brisbane||L||7||-||16||Suncorp||16,740||4th|
|9||May 8th||Sun 4:00pm||H||Warriors||W||29||-||10||Pointsbet||9,915||4th|
|10||May 15th||Sun 2:00pm||H N||Canberra||L||10||-||30||Suncorp||30,453||5th|
|11||May 22nd||Sun 4:00pm||A||Gold Coast||W||25||-||18||CBUS||9,882||4th|
|12||May 28th||Sat 7:30pm||H||Sydney||L||16||-||36||Pointsbet||11,500||7th|
|14||Jun 12th||Sun 6:00pm||A||Warriors||W||38||-||16||Redcliffe||3,560||5th|
|15||Jun 18th||Sat 3:00pm||H N||Gold Coast||W||18||-||10||C.ex Coffs||9,058||4th|
|16||Jul 2nd||Sat 3:00pm||A||Canterbury||W||18||-||6||CommBank||8,837||4th|
|17||Jul 7th||Thu 7:50pm||H||Melbourne||W||28||-||6||Pointsbet||7,868||4th|
|18||Jul 15th||Fri 6:00pm||A||North Qld||W||26||-||12||QLD C.B.||15,982||4th|
|19||Jul 23rd||Sat 5:30pm||A||Penrith||L||10||-||20||BlueBet||17,426||3rd|
|20||Jul 30th||Sat 5:30pm||H||Souths||W||21||-||20||Pointsbet||11,492||3rd|
|21||Aug 6th||Sat 7:35pm||H||St Geo Illa||W||24||-||18||Pointsbet||11,427||3rd|
|22||Aug 13th||Sat 5:30pm||A N||Wests Tigers||W||36||-||12||Scully Park||10,048||3rd|
|23||Aug 20th||Sat 5:30pm||A||Manly||W||40||-||6||4 Pines||12,243||3rd|
|24||Aug 27th||Sat 5:30pm||H||Canterbury||W||16||-||0||Pointsbet||11,500||2nd|
|25||Sep 4th||Sun 2:00pm||A||Newcastle||W||38||-||16||McD. Jones||16,808||2nd|
|QF||Sep 10th||Sat 7:50pm||H||North Qld||L||30||-||32||Pointsbet||12,447||2nd|
|SF||Sep 17th||Sat 8:00pm||H N||Souths||L||12||-||38||Allianz||39,733||2nd|
Nicho Hynes hands down was the Sharks best player in 2022, but he had a supporting cast who were all superb this year as well. Siosifa Talakai started the year as a bench forward but after 3 games he had to take up a role as a starting centre. So good was he, that he earnt a call up to the NSW State of Origin side. Ronaldo Mulitalo was outstanding again on the wing, while Matt Moylan turned back the clock and had one of his best seasons since departing the Panthers. His combination with Hynes developed quickly and proved to be very threatening all season long.
Kayal Iro made his NRL debut late in the season and finished the year representing the Cook Islands at the World Cup. Kade Dykes played two games at fullback and did not disappoint. Jesse Colquhoun and Thomas Hazelton also made solid starts to their NRL careers in 2022.
The Sharks have made very few changes to their squad for 2023. Andrew Fifita and Aiden Tolman both retired while Luke Metcalf moved to the Warriors.
The Sharks have signed impressive young Eels forward Oregon Kaufusi.
at the time of writing
1. William Kennedy
2. Sione Katoa
3. Jesse Ramien
4. Connor Tracey
5. Ronaldo Mulitalo
6. Matt Moylan
7. Nicho Hynes
8. Toby Rudolf
9. Blayke Brailey
10. Braden Hamlin-Uele
11. Briton Nikora
12. Wade Graham
13. Dale Finucane
14. Teig Wilton
15. Royce Hunt
16. Siosifa Talakai
17. Oregon Kaufus