Flanagan excited by young Cronulla speedster Katoa in lead-up to Cowboys game

Shane Flanagan has tipped rookie winger Sione Katoa to become an NRL superstar. Picture: John Veage
Shane Flanagan has tipped rookie winger Sione Katoa to become an NRL superstar. Picture: John Veage

Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan has tipped rookie winger Sione Katoa to become an NRL superstar, comparing him to Canberra's try-scoring machine Jordan Rapana. 

Katoa will make his debut for the Sharks on Friday night against North Queensland in Townsville.

Katoa, known for his lightning speed, impressed in the pre-season after he was the leading try-scorer across the under-20s competition last year with 24.

"He deserves his spot, he's played well in the trials coming off the back of the under-20s season last year," Flanagan said.

"He's going to score a lot of tries in the NRL, he's a superstar.

“He's got a bit of Jordan Rapana in the way he carries the football. He's not as big as Jordan, but stopping and starting, reloading and keeping going until he finds a hole.

“It's exciting to get to watch him play and give him his first jersey. It's the start of a long career."

Rookie Cronulla Sharks winger Sione Katoa. Picture: @cssc

Rookie Cronulla Sharks winger Sione Katoa. Picture: @cssc

The Sharks face a mammoth task to contain the Cowboys in Johnathan Thurston’s 300th game, but Flanagan remains confident.

Much of the coach’s optimism comes from proven performers like Paul Gallen, Luke Lewis, Andrew Fifita and Wade Graham.

“I’ve got lot of senior players who have played in a lot of big games,”  Flanagan said.

“They are the type of players I want for this big occasion for JT’s 300th game.

“We are in a good position and we’ve trained well, so we are excited about going up there.

“It will be a challenge and a great way to see where we are at going up there on a big occasion.”