Since 1967 a collection of classy wingers have donned the number 2 and 5 jerseys in representing the Cronulla Sharks.

The flashy types noted for their speed, their evasion, their finishing ability and more recently the size and strength to perform like an extra forward in the way the modern game demands, there have been many quality wingers play in the black, white and blue.

Coming up with a short-list was a difficult assignment, however those chosen will all be fondly remembered for their contribution to the cause and the excitement they provided to the fans during the eras in which they played.

Rick Bourke was a staple of the Sharks teams of the 1970’s and 80’s both at fullback and on the wing, while often on the opposite flank was speedster and try-scoring sensation Ray Corcoran.  

Steve Edmonds was another to thrill the crowds in the club’s early days, before local boy Chris Gardner took over and played a starring role during the late 70’s and the early 1980’s.

Mat Rogers, son of immortal Steve, a man who would become a dual international at league and union, needs no introduction, nor does Luke Covell, a goal-kicking genius and outstanding clubman who embodied the spirit of the Sharks each time he took to the field.

And who could deny nominations to the two Grand Final heroes from 2016, Holmes and Feki, players exhibiting different styles but both integral to the Sharks premiership success.

Eight of the very best, who are your wingers in the Sharks Team of the Half Century?   

 

The Nominees

Wingers

Ray Corcoran

Debuting in 1968, Ray Corcoran would go on to play eight seasons and 110 games for the Sharks in the top grade.

A player with an abundance of speed and an ability to get the ball over the try line when opportunities presented, Corcoran would score 63 tries in what was an outstanding try-scoring strike rate.

Corcoran’s try total still sits fifth on the all-time Sharks list some 40 or more years since his retirement.

A member of the 1973 Grand Final team and selected for City Firsts in 1970, Corcoran’s best year was perhaps in 1971 when he crossed for 17 tries.

One of the best of his era, one of the leading wingers to play for the Sharks and a player warranting serious consideration as one of the wingers in the Cronulla Team of the Half Century.

 

Rick Bourke

Known for his try as a fullback replacement for Warren Fisher in the 1973 Grand Final, Bourke would play dual roles for the Sharks during his 154-game, 10-season career.

Equally comfortable at fullback or on the wing, Bourke played the 1978 Grand Final on the wing, then at fullback in the Grand Final replay just days later.

He would score 38 tries for the Sharks, a good percentage of those four-pointers coming while as a winger on the end of a strong Sharks backline.

While his blond flowing locks and good looks were his trademark, Bourke was also a player of great ability, never more highlighted by the fact he managed 10 years at the top level.

Also a nominee for the Sharks Fullback of the Half Century, Bourke certainly wouldn’t be out of place if chosen as a winger amongst the Club’s best of the best. 

 

Steve Edmonds

A Shire local and a great clubman, Steve Edmonds was an outstanding contributor to the success of the Sharks during the formative years.

Like Bourke and Corcoran, Edmonds was a regular on the end of the Sharks backline during the 1970’s and early 80’s, with his career spanning 114 games and nine seasons.

Edmonds managed 34 tries in those 100-plus outings, none more important or significant than the one and only try-scored in the 11-all drawn Grand Final in 1978.

Another extremely worthy nominee as one of the wingers in the Sharks Team of the Half Century.

 

Chris Gardner

Another local boy who made was a permanent member of the Sharks backline throughout a career spanning 130 First Grade games and eight seasons, beginning in 1978 and concluding in 1985.

Gardner debuted in 1978 and while he missed the Grand Final that year was called up into the side for the Tuesday afternoon replay just days later in a team which included Edmonds, Bourke and Sharks Immortal Steve Rogers.

A member of the Sharks team during their Amco Cup winning year of 1979, Gardner switched between being Rogers’ centre partner and the wing position during that season in displaying his ability and versatility.

Scored 59 tries during his Sharks first grade career, Gardner continued to give back to local rugby league in the Shire upon his retirement as a coach and official at the De La Salle club and is another fitting nominee for the Cronulla Team of the Half Century. 

 

Mat Rogers

Born in Caringbah as the son of Sharks Immortal Steve Rogers, Mat would learn the game as a junior with the Engadine Dragons before going on to enjoy an illustrious career, one that would see him become a dual-code international.

With the ability to play wing, fullback, centre or five eighth, many of his most notable exploits were on the flank, with Rogers scoring 75 tries in 123 appearances for the Sharks in seven seasons.

Also a prolific goal kicker, Rogers eclipsed some of the point-scoring records of his legendary father Steve, most notably the mark of 26 in one match coming from a three try, seven goal effort against Newcastle in 2000.

Earned selection for the Kangaroos and Queensland Origin team before leaving the Sharks in 2001 to play rugby union, where he would go on to represent the Wallabies. Returned to rugby league and the Gold Coast Titans in 2007.

It certainly isn’t outside the realms of possibility that there could be two Rogers’ including in the Sharks Team of the Half Century.


Luke Covell

Hailing from Murwillumbah in northern NSW, Luke Covell debuted in the NRL for the Wests Tigers before making a home in the Sutherland Shire, where he became a fan favourite in six seasons at the Sharks.

Held in high regard for his professionalism and attitude, Covell would also be called upon to captain the team in times of need, a rarity for a player out on the wing, first playing with the ‘C’ next to his name in 2007, before captaining the Sharks on nine occasions in 2009 and again in one game during the 2010 season.

A goal-kicker of the highest class, Covell would kick 364 goals in his 131 NRL appearances and when added to his 55 tries his total point scoring tally currently sits third on the club’s all-time list behind just Steve and Mat Rogers.

The criteria outlined that nominees must embody the spirit of the Cronulla-Sutherland Football Club while leaving a lasting impact during their time at the Cronulla Sharks, certainly qualifies Covell as worthy of consideration.

 

Sosaia Feki

Quietly spoken, Sosaia Feki let his actions do all the talking in 2016 as the Sharks capitalised on his talents in going on to claim the 2016 NRL title.

While Feki scored 14 tries in 24 matches played this past season, making it 37 four-pointers in 86 matches for the club, just as important was his ability to get the team on the front foot with his strong carries on kick returns and from dummy half runs.

After getting his chance in 2013 Feki hasn’t looked back, improving with each and every season in locking down a wing position in the Sharks NRL side.

And the former New Zealand Warrior and current Tongan international is likely to get even better, on the end of a potent backline and in a team intent on proving their 2016 success was no fluke.

Why not Feki, one of the current crop of Sharks, for the Team of the Half Century?

 

Valentine Holmes

Still in the early stages of what promises to be a long and illustrious career, Valentine Holmes debuted in difficult circumstances in 2014 before bursting onto the scene in 2015, only to go to another level in the Sharks premiership winning team of 2016.

Playing 26 of 27 games this past season Holmes equalled the club try-scoring record of David Peachey in crossing the stripe 19 times, with the majority of his tries displaying his abundance of speed, skill and athleticism.

Like Feki, one of Holmes’ greatest assets was his ability to take his team forward from deep in their defensive end, while a couple of long range tries showed he was an attacking threat from anywhere on the field.

Holmes outstanding 2016 campaign earned him selection in the Australian team for the Four Nations Tour, where he quickly claimed then nailed down a starting position in Coach Mal Meninga’s best Kangaroo 17.

While the sky may be the limit for the career of Holmes, do his exploits to this point already warrant selection as one of two wingers in the Sharks Team of the Half Century?

Vote now for the two Wingers in your Cronulla Sharks 'Team of the Half Century' today and be a part of history.