Unlike other teams who were counting the cost of the NRL Auckland Nines from an injury standpoint, the Sharks touched down in Sydney today with no major concerns.
While Ben Barba stayed back to catch a flight direct to Brisbane for the NRL All Stars match, the other 17 Sharks Nines squad members had just bumps and bruises to show for the three games contested in Auckland over the weekend.
With the trial match against the Manly Sea Eagles next on the agenda, coach Shane Flanagan will now need to make some decisions as to the make up of his team for Sunday’s game.
The Sharks will contribute five players to All Stars, while veterans Luke Lewis and Chris Heighington may be two not to back up after getting plenty of game time at the Nines, with a team for the trial to named tomorrow.
Of those who didn’t make the trip to the Nines, only Jacob Gagan is likely to be unavailable due to injury.
James Maloney, Valentine Holmes and Jayson Bukuya, three players not to make the trip to New Zealand, would be expected to play.
However while the Sharks came through unscathed at the Nines, their trial match opponents the Sea Eagles were left counting the cost of the pre-season event with at least two serious injuries and a couple of concussions meaning they could be struggling to field their best side on Sunday.
Hooker Jayden Hodges suffered an ACL injury and Jamie Buhrer a suspected broken jaw in what was a devastating start to new coach Trent Barrett’s 2016 season.
The trial against Manly will also double as the Sharks Season Launch, with a variety of activities for the family set to make it a kick start to the new season not to be missed.
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