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Sharks Team of the Decade – 2010-2020 - Fullbacks

Far be it from us to put words in your mouth, or rather players in your Sharks team of the decade, but we thought we’d provide a reminder of some of the players to have worn the blue, black and white of the Sharks with distinction over the last 10 years.

The last decade has seen the high of the 2016 Grand Final success, the low of the 2014 wooden spoon, and almost everything in between, with numerous outstanding performers representing the Cronulla club along the way.

So as outlined last week, we are asking you to help us select a Team of the Decade, a Sharks squad 1-17 which you believe to be the best from 2010 to the currently suspended 2020 season.

Rather than focusing on the fact there is no rugby league at present, we are giving Sharks fans the chance to have your say in letting us know who your favourites are from the past 10 years.

Today we take a look at some of the more notable players to wear the number one jersey over the past 10 seasons. Who is your pick as fullback in the Sharks Team of the Decade – 2010-2020?

The Fullbacks

The decade began with mercurial Nathan Gardner filling the fullback role.

Small in stature but with an amazing turn of speed, Gardner was the first-choice custodian in 2010 and 2011, before injury and loss of form saw him fall from favour.

In 2013 the Sharks recruited Michael Gordon from the Panthers and the experienced campaigner was the man at the back throughout the 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons.

Tough, resilient and professional, Gordon rarely missed a game and such was the faith then-coach Shane Flanagan had in his abilities, Gordon kept Ben Barba on the bench in his final year at the Club.

Add to his general play, Gordon was one of the best goal kickers in the competition.

With the departure of Gordon, Barba slotted seamlessly into the team in 2016 after spending most of the previous season as an interchange utility.

It didn’t take long for Barba to make the fullback position his own during the premiership-winning run of 2016, playing all 26 games that year, scoring 16 tries, including that famous four-pointer in the Grand Final victory over the Storm.

Many good judges say the Sharks don’t win the title in ’16 without Barba at the back and it’s hard to argue with that assessment.

But the same critics might also argue that the Sharks don’t lift the trophy without the input of Valentine Holmes, although his 2016 season was spent on the wing.

Holmes would go on to replace Barba in 2017, learning his trade in 22 games that year, before enjoying a break-out 2018, his 22 tries a Sharks single season record. Do you select Holmes as a fullback, or winger in your team of the decade?

Then let’s not forget two players currently on the Sharks roster in 2020 in Josh Dugan and Matt Moylan.

Both have battled injury, although Dugan did manage 23 games in 2019, Moylan playing the majority of 2018 but in the five eight position before struggling to get on the field last year as a result of some injury setbacks. Despite their troubles, the class of both can’t be questioned.

Fit and firing, Dugan and Moylan more than match up with any of those Sharks fullbacks to have gone before them.

So now it’s over to you.

Who makes your team of the decade and who is your choice as fullback?

Download the Sharks Team of the Decade template here and start filling yours out today - once you've finished your squad, upload a picture to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag us - or email your sheet to [email protected]!

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.