There was a passage of play midway through Cronulla’s scrimmage with Wigan on Wednesday afternoon that would have had Shane Flanagan – and Sharks fans – salivating for season 2018.
New signing Matt Moylan, drifting across field to the left on about halfway, finds Wade Graham with a short pass. Quick as a flash, Graham catches and pass back on his inside to Valentine Holmes.
The exciting young fullback explodes through Wigan’s defensive line, draws his opposite number before finding Sharks halfback Chad Townsend to score under the posts.
Flanagan will hope it is a sign of things to come.
Cronulla overcame oppressive heat to have the better of a lopsided scrimmage against the English Super League club at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
It was 38.5 degrees at kick-off but it didn’t appear to hurt the Sharks too much as they looked much sharper, running in seven tries to one.
Another new signing, Josh Dugan, had a handful of quality touches and showed good speed and strength to make one try-saving tackle.
Meanwhile, Flanagan has named his squad for Cronulla’s first trial match of the season against Manly on Saturday night.
Sharks fans will get their first look at Moylan, Braden Uele, Ava Seumanufagai and Aaron Gray in the black, white and blue. Flanagan has also named what will likely be his first grade spine of Holmes, Moylan, Townsend and Jayden Brailey to start.
First grade regulars Ricky Leutele, Dugan, Matt Prior, Andrew Fifita, Luke Lewis, Wade Graham and Paul Gallen have all be left out.
Kick-off is at 7.30pm.
Sharks team vs Manly:
1 Valentine Holmes, 2 Sosaia Feki, 3 Jesse Ramien, 4 Aaron Gray, 5 Sione Katoa, 6 Matt Moylan, 7 Chad Townsend, 8 Braden Uele, 9 Jayden Brailey, 10 Ava Seumanufagai, 11 Kurt Capewell, 12 Jayson Bukuya, 13 Joseph Paulo. Interchange: 14 James Segeyaro, 15 Kyle Flanagan, 16 Edrick Lee, 16 Jack Williams, 17 Kurt Dillion, 19 Billy Magoulias, 21 Scott Sorensen. Reserves: 1 Will Kennedy, 2 Isaac Lumelume, 6 Trent Hodkinson, 7 Jack Williams, 12 Briton Nikora, 13 Bronson Xerri, 17 Blayke Brailey, 20 Cruz Topai-Aveai, 22 Daniel Vasquez, 23 Josh Tuilagi, 24 Brock Ilett