They have both made a strong impression since forcing their way into the Sharks NRL line up, with Royce Hunt and Siosifa Talakai rewarded for their efforts with contract extensions at the Cronulla club.
Hunt, who arrived in the Shire following three years at the Canberra Raiders, has agreed to a new two-year deal, one which will see him remain at the Sharks through until the end of the 2022 season, while the versatile Talakai has accepted the terms on a one-year extension.
The pair will sign off on their new contracts later this week.
After joining the Sharks during the pre-season, John Morris has been impressed with their attitude, commitment and what the duo have delivered since being elevated into the his NRL squad, with the coach pleased to have them on board for next year and beyond.
“It’s great news for the club that Sifa and Royce have extended their contracts,” Morris said.
“They both came to the club on a train and trial basis looking for an opportunity and through sheer hard work they have not only been rewarded with a contract extension but have played their way into our NRL team.
“Sifa and Royce bring a point of difference to our team, both possessing good size, leg speed and power and they love the physicality of the game. Maybe even more importantly they are also of good character off the field and are hungry to succeed,” Morris added.
While they travelled vastly different paths to arrive at the Cronulla club, Hunt and Talakai turned up in November with no guarantees as to what their rugby league futures would hold.
Thrust into the training environment amongst youngsters and the established Sharks NRL players, both went about their business waiting for a chance, but it wasn’t until the resumption of the competition following the Coronavirus shutdown when their opportunities would come.
Talakai, who had 11 NRL games on his resume from his days at the Rabbitohs, debuted for the Sharks in their round four win over the Cowboys in Townsville.
The nuggety backrower has played primarily in the forwards in his five games in Cronulla colours but has also been a capable replacement in the centres when injury has dictated.
As for Hunt, his Sharks debut came in round six in what was just his second NRL game, having played his first for the Canberra Raiders back in 2017. He has also been a lucky charm of sorts, helping the Sharks to three consecutive wins in his first three games in the top grade prior to last weekend’s disappointing result against Penrith.
The pair have impressed in their short time at the Sharks with hopefully a lot more to come throughout the remainder of the 2020 season and on the back of their contract extensions.
ROYCE HUNT – Fact File
Born: August 13, 1995, Liverpool NSW
Junior Club: Willagee Bears, WA
Previous Clubs: Raiders (2017-2019)
NRL Debut: Raiders v Penrith, Carrington Park, Bathurst, 10/6/2017 (Round 14)
Sharks Debut: v Bulldogs, Bankwest Stadium, 21/6/2020 (Round 6)
NRL Games: 5
SIOSIFA TALAKAI – Fact file
Born: April 18, 1997, Sydney, NSW
Junior Club: Mascot Jets
Position: Second row
Position: Back row/centre
Previous Clubs: Souths (2017-2018)
Rep Honours: Junior Kiwis (2016-2017)
NRL debut: Souths v Gold Coast, nib Stadium, Perth, 5/6/2016 (Round 13)
Sharks debut: v Cowboys, Qld County Bank Stadium, 6/6/2020 (Round 4)
NRL Games: 16