With the NRL season now well and truly put to bed and American sport hitting our screens, we look at which Cronulla Sharks players could make it in the USA.
From the big hits of the NFL to the highflyers in the NBA, we take a look at which of our boys in the black, white and blue just may have what it takes to crack it in the big leagues of America.*
*This article is purely entertainment, written for the purpose of entertainment. That is all.
1. Andrew Fifita – Tight End (Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots)
The hulking frame of Andrew Fifita is matched by his speed off the mark and large engine, giving him a unique mix of size, speed and stamina.
While Andrew’s ability to run for long periods of time will not be a game changer in the short bursts of play needed on a Gridiron field however it is his size and speed that would make him a valuable asset on the park.
We only have to look back to Game 1 of the 2017 State of Origin Series and the Sharks’ Round 11 clash against the North Queensland Cowboys to see just how devastating he could be.
Throw in his 1.94cm frame and he is easily a target for any quarterback.
Andrew Fifita v Rob Gronkowski
28 Age 28
194cm Height 198cm
116kg Weight 120kg
2. Paul Gallen – Line Backer/Safety (Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers)
The Sharks skipper is built low to the ground, can hit hard and is quick over a short distance.
Traditionally not as tall as other Line Backers in the game however Gallen’s raw strength and tenacity in contact, he would be one heck of a player to bring down the best Running Backs in the NFL.
Given Gallen leads the Club in many weight-lifting and fitness statistics and as shown by his desire to fight professionally, Gallen is always up for a challenge and the fleet-footed runners of the NFL would provide just that match-up he relishes.
We only have to look to recent Troy Polamalu, the champion Safety from the Pittsburgh Steelers who showed that you didn’t have to be 6’6 tall to match it with the best in the business.
Paul Gallen v Troy Polamalu
36 Age 36
180cm Height 178cm
104kg Weight 94kg
3. Valentine Holmes – Wide Receiver (Odell Beckham Junior, New York Giants)
This transition was close to becoming a reality when Valentine Holmes trialled in front of NFL scouts in the USA before penning a long-term deal to stay here at the Sharks.
Holmes has many attributes that would make him a top-level wide receiver. He has speed, elite acceleration and speed of the mark along with the awareness of his surroundings and these together make him key candidate to get on the end of a quarterback’s Hail Mary for the touchdown.
One of those players who does this week-in, week-out is Odell Beckham Jr, the Wide Receiver from the New York Giants. A genuine excitement machine, before a season ending ankle injury sustained this year, OBJ lit up the competition, none more so than with his trademark one-handed grabs.
Holmes has brought crowds to their feet at Southern Cross Group Stadium, Suncorp Stadium and surely will do at the upcoming Rugby League World Cup. Imagine seeing it at Gillette Stadium with the great Tom Brady!
As much as we don’t want to see that, it would be pretty special.
Valentine Holmes v Odell Beckham Jr.
22 Age 24
185cm Height 180cm
85kg Weight 90kg
4. Luke Lewis – Point Guard (Russel Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder)
Luke Lewis is not only one of the most athletically gifted athletes at the Sharks however in the whole NRL. He has the ability to pick up a bat or ball and within minutes, will be competing like he’s been playing for years.
His sporting nous would make him the perfect Point Guard in the NBA. He has an innate ability to think tactically to give his side the advantage.
In the NBA, Russel Westbrook is one of the best tacticians and athletes at the moment and is also the reigning MVP. Lewis and Westbrook are similar in height therefore we see our gifted athlete being able to set up his big men in the paint with his silky skills with ball in hand.
The former winger an still rise high in the air too so maybe “Groova” could get the crowds on their feet by taking the ball to the board and laying on a few dunks!!
Luke Lewis v Russell Westbrook
34 Age 28
188cm Height 191cm
105kg Weight 91kg
5. James Maloney – Point Guard (Isaiah Thomas, Cleveland Cavaliers)
Two of the best little men in their fields.
James Maloney is a thinker. Not blessed with the size of his teammates like Fifita or Gallen, Maloney has crafted his game based on skill and directing traffic.
One man to play this similar role in the NBA is Isaiah Thomas. A tactician of the highest order, the Cleveland Cavaliers new man in the middle forged a solid NBA career at the Boston Celtics however is now, plying his trade alongside some of the game’s best in LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Derrick Rose.
Maloney has the ability to win a game with a single play, having done so plenty of times in his time at the Club so far.
What man would you want with ball in hand, the shot clock running down and your team behind by 1? We wouldn’t mind seeing Maloney shoot for three!
James Maloney v Isaiah Thomas
31 Age 28
176cm Height 175cm
85kg Weight 84kg