Adding to an already staggering injury toll the Sharks suffered three more season-ending injuries in the match against the Eels at Remondis Stadium last Saturday.
NSW Origin star Luke Lewis, young winger Jacob Gagan and stand-in skipper Wade Graham were all struck down with injuries which will see the trio join the likes of Beau Ryan, John Morris, Siosaia Vave, David Fifita and possibly Bryce Gibbs on the sidelines for the rest of the season.
Sharks Doctor George Pitsis attempted to explain the latest injuries in layman’s terms.
“Luke has a grade two hamstring, which is a four to six week injury, Jacob Gagan a high grade hamstring tear and Wade Graham a stress fracture to his mid foot,” Dr Pitsis said. “It is very unlikely any of those three will be fit to return over the final five weeks of the season.
The diagnosis on Anthony Tupou, also assisted from the field with a hamstring strain last weekend, was somewhat more positive.
“Anthony’s injury was a little less serious. He will undergo treatment and testing and we are hopeful he could be fit to play in Melbourne in two weeks,”Pitsis explained.
Of the other Sharks on the sideline Gibbs is nursing a foot fracture and is more hopeful than certain of a return over the final five rounds.
The Sharks have eight senior players currently unavailable, 10 if Eric Grothe Junior and the recently retired Beau Ryan were to be included.
Over the course of the season the Sharks have used an unprecedented 34 players, with the NRL average this year somewhere around 26-27, with 30 the next highest and Brisbane the lowest with only 24 players used, indicating the debilitating injury crisis which has affected the Cronulla squad this year.
And in another unwanted fact which has been revealed this week the club’s three internationals in Paul Gallen, Luke Lewis and Andrew Fifita have yet to play in the same game for the Sharks this season.
In some good news for the game coming up against the Warriors on Sunday, Gallen has been named to make his return from a biceps injury.