Who will run out round one when the Sharks tackle the Dragons and maybe more significantly, which players will cement positions in the top 17 and go on to play a leading role as the year progresses?
We take a look at the players likely to fill the centre positions for coach John Morris and the Sharks in 2021.
Jesse Ramien returned from the Newcastle Knights, Josh Dugan overcame his troublesome injury issues to run out in 16 of his team’s 21 games in 2021, with the pair the Sharks main centre pairing last season.
Both big and powerful, Ramien and Dugan provide plenty of strike on the edges and if fit and firing, appear to be the favourites to once again fill the two centre positions when the Sharks season gets underway on March 14.
That being said, Mawene Hiroti has thrown down the challenge with an outstanding pre-season, catching the eye of Coach Morris and his training staff, with the former Junior Kiwi and ex-Souths outside back well and truly in the conversation.
Hiroti managed just two games in the top grade in 2020, one on the wing in a loss to the Dragons back in round five, the other a much-improved performance in the Sharks last regular season clash when they took on the Raiders, on this occasion when playing as a centre. And in what is another string to his bow, Hiroti is a capable goal kicker.
Ronaldo Mulitalo, a likely winger in the Sharks side for the start of the season, would relish the chance to make a move into the centres having played the position at junior Origin level, while Jackson Ferris impressed in his one NRL game in 2020.
Ferris scored a smart individual try and more than held his own in a Sharks win over the Broncos and despite currently being on a Development contract, could enhance his chances of an upgrade with some strong performances on the training paddock heading into round, then for the Newtown Jets early on in 2021.
Physically imposing youngster Jensen Taumoepeau has played centre, wing and fullback coming through the grades and he too could be a contender for a centre spot should his development continue.
The Sharks centre pairing seems obvious, but will that be the way it pans out when the 2021 season gets underway?
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