Who will run out round one and maybe more significantly, which players will cement positions in the top 17 as the year progresses?
Sharks Media takes a look at the edge players, the second rowers who are likely to fill those crucial positions for coach John Morris and the Sharks in 2021.
Wade Graham has represented NSW and Australia, Briton Nikora the Kiwi’s, which is certainly a good start when it comes to rating the quality of the edge back rowers available to John Morris and the Sharks ahead of the 2021 season.
Following the retirement of Paul Gallen, Graham became the spiritual leader of the Sharks in 2020, while it goes without saying his skill set and competitive instincts are a benefit to any side he plays for.
As for Nikora, the Gold Coast-raised Kiwi will admit 2020 didn’t go quite as smoothly as his debut season of 2019, however his class and ability can’t be underestimated and most good judges at the Sharks are confident he will return to his best during the upcoming season.
A positive for Nikora, as well as for all the prospective backrowers has been the addition of Luke Lewis to the Sharks coaching set up.
The representative forward and Clive Churchill Medallist from the 2016 Grand Final, Lewis has been adding some polish to the Sharks edge players and Nikora is one already showing the benefit of his input.
Another to be taking in every word from the former international is Teig Wilton, the South Coast product has continued on an upward trend throughout the summer and after more than holding his own in five top grade appearances last year is ready to push for more game time during the upcoming season.
A NSW Under-20’s and under-18’s representative, Wilton has the pedigree to be a success at an NRL level.
While as impressive as the above-mentioned back rowers might be, Sharks 2020 Player’s Player Siosifa Talakai will again demand consideration and is almost certain to be included when Morris selects his best 17.
We may not see him for a game or two to start the year as he returns from shoulder surgery, and Morris also has the option of using him in the middle of the field, but when fit chances are Talakai will be there somewhere.
And should the situation dictate, Billy Magoulias, Toby Rudolf and Jack Williams, while not their preferred position, can all spend time on an edge and in the back row if required.
There is perhaps quality rather than quantity, but with four outstanding candidates, the Sharks are well served when it comes to the edge back row options.
In case you missed it.......
2021 Sharks NRL Squad - Middle Forwards - CLICK HERE
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2021 Sharks NRL Squad - Centres - CLICK HERE
2021 Sharks NRL Squad - Wingers - CLICK HERE
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