The Sharks have named a squad with speed and youth, mixed with a sprinkling of experience for the 2016 Downer NRL Auckland Nines tournament beginning February 6.
Newcomers Kurt Capewell, Josh Cleeland and Jordan Drew get their chance to impress in their first appearances in Sharks colours, alongside young guns Jack Bird and Valentine Holmes who lit up Eden Park in the 2015 Nines event in a Cronulla squad which progressed through to the Championship Final.
Throw in playmaker Chad Townsend, exciting utility Ben Barba and ball-playing forward Joseph Paulo, coupled with hardened veterans in Luke Lewis (co-Captain), Matt Prior and Chris Heighington (co-Captain) and it adds up to a balanced Sharks team and one which again promises to mount a serious challenge after coming so close to glory just 12 months ago.
The Sharks have scheduled training sessions on Monday and Wednesday before travelling to Auckland on Thursday.
Their first game in the Nines will be against the Titans on Saturday (at 1.35pm Sydney time), before a match against the Dragons later on day one. The Sharks final pool match is against the Canberra Raiders on Sunday morning.
The 18-man Sharks squad (in alphabetical order) for the 2016 Downer NRL Auckland Nines
Chris Heighington (C)
Luke Lewis (C)
For the full NRL Auckland Nines draw CLICK HERE