Sharks recruitment in full swing
Strapping Raiders outside back Sami Sauiluma, Newtown prop Saulala Houma and a host of talented youngsters have signed on with the Sharks for 2015 with player recruitment in full swing as the current season winds down.
Sauiluma, who stands at 184cm and tips the scales at 110kgs, played 15 top grade games at Canberra over the past two seasons, with his size and speed in the centres or on the wing set to provide plenty of options and increase competition for positions in the Sharks backline in 2015.
A Canberra native from the Woden Valley club, the 23-year-old Sauiluma scored 20 tries in 15 NSW Cup appearances in 2014 while also playing eight matches in the top grade. Somewhat saddened to leave his home town, Sauiluma was however looking forward to the challenge at the Sharks from next year.
‘‘It’s a bit disappointing leaving, but that’s footy these days,” Sauiluma told the Canberra Times. ‘‘The Sharks have got an unbelievable roster once all their players are back from injury and the off-field drama’s finished, I think they’ll be able to bounce back to where they were two years ago.’’
Joining him will be another physically imposing player in Houma, a prop who has spent the last few seasons in the Roosters system, playing in 2013 and 2014 with their NSW Cup feeder club the Newtown Jets.
At 190cm and weighing in at more than 110kgs Houma will add size to the Sharks forward pack next year.
Houma rated an ‘honourable mention’ in the NSW Cup Team of the Year announced this week, while Sauiluma won a place in the same best-of team in the centres. The two newcomers join the Sharks on one year deals.
While Sauiluma and Houma will be a part of the Sharks fulltime training squad this off-season, a number of other players, the majority of them local products, have agreed to terms with the club and are set to make major contributions in the Cronulla NYC and SG Ball teams both next year and in seasons to come.
Leading that list the Sharks have now secured the services of all four of their recently selected Australian schoolboys on multi-year contracts, with Jayden Walker and Connor Tracey agreeing to new deals which will see them play in the Sharks under 20’s in 2015 alongside fellow national schools team members Ash Nisbet and Jayden Brailey.
Walker, a part of last week’s winning GIO Cup winning schools team Endeavour Sports High, has signed a new contract which will see him remain at the Sharks for the next three seasons, while Tracey has committed for 2015 and 2016.
The young Sharks quartet will soon depart on a tour of UK and France with the Australian schools squad.
Ryan Cummins, Curtis Scott and Billy Magoulias, from Endeavour High and members of the 2014 Sharks SG Ball squad, have also agreed to terms, with Scott and Magoulias having another year of SG Ball eligibility in 2015. All three have come through the ranks with Cronulla district junior league teams and the respective Sharks junior rep sides.
Cummins and Scott are outside backs, Magoulias a clever ball-playing forward.
Two more highly promising local juniors in Daniel Vasquez and Cameron Scott are also contracted to the club and are set to play leading roles in the Sharks SG Ball team next season, with young hooker Blake Brailey, brother of Australian Schoolboy Jayden, also committing to the club on a three year deal.
The younger Brailey has two years of SG Ball remaining.
In relation to young out of district players, the Sharks have managed to secure the services of Brisbane-based Australian Schoolboys centre Keenan Yorston and Queensland Schoolboys winger Josh Tuilagi, along with NSW Country reps Zac Faulkner and Jaimin Jolliffe.
Faulkner, a prop hailing from Farah High School in Tamworth, Yorston and Tuilagi, are all eligible for the under-18’s next year, while Jolliffe, from Wagga Wagga in south-western NSW, is a front rower who will be a part of the Sharks NYC squad.
The most recent signings come on the back of the news that NSW 20’s Origin representative Jack Bird signed on with the Sharks last Friday for the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
Sharks recruitment, both in the senior and junior ranks, will continue during the off-season.
Photo - Sami Sauiluma