The Sharks have built a squad with strong depth across most positions for the 2015 season, with all players both young and the not-so-young working hard to win a place in the NRL squad for round one.
The ‘old stagers’ are intent on keeping their positions in the side, while the ‘young guns’ are focussed on making a name for themselves in a Sharks team confident of a success this year.
For the wing position coach Shane Flanagan has a whole host of options up his sleeve, with the majority of his outside backs capable of performing a number of different back line roles.
Past deeds, training, the Nines and trial form will ultimately determine who wears the 2 and 5 jerseys in round one, however here is Sharks.com.au’s take on the battle for the Sharks wing positions in 2015.
The favourites – Sosaia Feki, Mitch Brown
A difficult task to sift through the options and to figure out exactly what coach Flanagan might be thinking, however it will be almost impossible to go past Feki for one of the wing posiitons after his breakout season in 2014.
Feki enjoyed an outstanding year, culminating in a call up to the Kiwi squad for the Four Nations tournament, and while he didn’t get on the field for the New Zealanders his selection gave an indication of high regard in which he is held.
Runs hard, tackles hard and formed a strong combination with Ricky Leutele on the Sharks left hand side, with the only potential twist as the season rolls along, considering his rapid improvement and his experience in the centres at an NYC level, a positional switch at some point could be on the cards.
As for his wing partner, since returning to the Sharks Mitch Brown has shown the years away have certainly seem him develop into a professional and highly competent outside back.
Big, strong, steady under the high ball, with big game experience having played in the 2014 Grand Final with the Dogs, Brown ticks a lot of boxes and is our tip to be Feki's wing partner when the Sharks play the Raiders on March 8
The rookie – Valentine Holmes
Was listed in the same ‘rookie’ column for the ‘fullbacks’ and hard to leave him out of the wing ‘favourites’ after his emergence as a genuine star of the future last year.
Only thing might be Val could be asked to cool his heels, learn and develop his game further in the NYC or NSW Cup and to be ready to grasp his opportunity when it does come along.
Probably more a fullback than a winger, he certainly wouldn’t let anyone down out on the flanks as he showed in 2014, with his blinding speed and try scoring ability a definite tick in the right box as to his chances of a round one call up
Will be in the NRL side at some stage and to leave him out of the 'certainties' list for season kick off shows the quality of player available in this position, which can only be a good thing for the Sharks in 2015.
The smokey – Sami Sauiluma
Quietly goes about his business at training however the powerfully built wing-centre has made the right noises in impressing those that matter with his ability and attitude since joining the Sharks this past off-season.
Rated highly enough to be a member of the Samoan train-on squad for the World Cup back two years ago, Sauiluma didn’t enjoy too much opportunity at an NRL level with the Raiders last year but caught the attention of many with eye-catching performances for their feeder Mounties, with his consistent performances seeing him selected in the NSWRL NSW Cup Team of the Year in 2014.
Big and strong and from all reports can score a try, has attributes that bring something different to the table for Flanagan and the Sharks and it could be just what they are looking for this year.
The contenders – Gerard Beale, Jacob Gagan, Dallas Wells
Gagan – Emerged as a player of promise last year when afforded an opportunity and would be keen to win back his wing spot for season kick off in March.
Showed he had courage, speed, good hands and could sniff out a try, talents which will have him in the frame for an NRL berth this year, even as early as round one.
Beale – Probably not his first choice to play there but if pushed out onto the wing could certainly do a job for Sharks if needed.
Has the ability and the rugby league awareness to play anywhere in the backline.
Wells – As explained in the ‘fullbacks’ summary possesses good versatility and is well-versed what is needed out on the wing, having played the majority of his football there for the Sharks NYC side.
His asset is his speed, which is probably requirement number one covered for a winger or outside back.
Making the big step up to the full time NRL squad this season Wells has a few in front of him, with 2015 more about learning, improving and putting on a bit of size, then taking the chance should it come up at some stage during the year.
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