NRL season starts up

Local teams: The Cronulla Sharks NRL team shows its support of the local Junior League at their annual team photo this week. Picture John Veage
Local teams: The Cronulla Sharks NRL team shows its support of the local Junior League at their annual team photo this week. Picture John Veage

The Sharks just missed the finals last season but have some significant roster changes this year which should be enough to get fans excited before round one kicks off on Friday, March 11.

Two wins from the first 10 games in 2021 had the Sharks on the back foot, but a four-game winning streak during Origin pushed the Sharks back into the top eight. But costly losses by narrow margins throughout the year came back to bite them.

Cameron McInnes is one of three key signings for the Sharks in 2022, with Melbourne Storm pair Dale Finucane and Nicho Hynes also on board.

Dragons recruit McInnes said the club had been in the finals year after year and were always competitive and he wanted to be part of that.

"It's so exciting what's happening here at the club and first and foremost I want to repay the faith the club has put in me." he said

New Shark and Indigenous All Star Nicho Hynes said his week in All Stars camp had taught him more about his cultural identity.

The match was also a big one for Hynes in pure footy terms. It was his first competitive hit-out as Cronulla five-eighth with Sharks spine players, fullback Will Kennedy and halfback Brayden Trindall, alongside him.

Hynes had some terrific touches in the narrow loss, producing some high-quality kicks, laying on one try and forcing a drop-out.

"It's good to play some footy and I'll hopefully build on that with the Sharks for the rest of the season," Hynes said.

After a positive pre-season under new coach Craig Fitzgibbon, the Sharks will unveil a number of their young guns when they play the Panthers in a trial at Parramatta Eels home ground on Sunday, February 20.

The more experienced squad members will take the field for a trial against the Bulldogs at Pointsbet Stadium, for the final hit out before the squad takes on the Canberra Raiders away to start their 2022 season.

The Sharks NRL also support local junior league teams, with players allocated to champion a local junior club.

One of these clubs, the Gymea Gorillas is celebrating its 60th season and is holding a Gala Day on Sunday, February 20 from 10am at Corea Oval.