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He spent the best part of his career playing hooker at the Dragons but Cameron McInnes believes he’s never felt more at home running with the ball under his arm at the Sharks.

One of the form dummy halves during his five years with the Red V, McInnes' switch to the Shire in 2021 saw him return to a running role in the forwards, with the 29-year-old saying the freedom and flexibility is bringing out the best in his game.

With the return of skipper Dale Finucane this week, McInnes has been named to play as an impact forward off the bench, a role which the veteran admitted comes more naturally than dummy-half.

Mac Attack is back

“I really enjoy this role, it's like one half of my career was hooker and now this is another half and, if I'm honest, I feel like this is more suited to me,” McInnes told

“I feel like I've been a lock playing hooker my whole career really.

“So it's cool to experience that now in my later career where I can appreciate things a bit more and enjoy playing this role at such a strong club.”

Averaging 100 run metres and more than 30 tackles a game this season, McInnes said he is enjoying life as a ball-playing forward, running outside one of the competition's most dangerous spines in Nicho Hynes, Matt Moylan and hooker Blayke Brailey.

McInnes straight and hard

“It's interesting, I feel a lot more freedom playing lock,” McInnes said.

“I enjoy the ball-playing side of things one off the ruck, I feel like I can see everything a bit more.

“It’s a weird thing to say, but it feels more natural to me. I’m really enjoy it.”

It's no surprise coach Craig Fitzgibbon has made little changes to the side which produced a statement 44-6 win over the Cowboys last Thursday with Royce Hunt replacing Braden Hamlin-Uele (knee) at prop and McInnes moving to the bench as Finucane returns from suspension.

The Botany junior said the Sharks forward pack will be working hard this week to ensure they can reproduce the same defensive effort which was on display against the Cowboys in Round 9.

“We've been building towards a defensive performance like that for a while now,” McInnes said.

A perfect defensive set

“We had a good performance against the Roosters but against the Bulldogs we sort of let ourselves down a little bit.

“We've been working really hard at defence and we'll continue to work hard at it because we know we can score points with the best of teams, now we need to make sure that we’re front loading and putting everything into our defence.

“There are things to improve on, we’re not a finished product but if our minds are in the right place, we're confident we can get there.”

Heading to Brisbane to chase their fourth win in a row in Magic Round, McInnes knows his side faces no easy task coming up against a Dolphins side renowned for their powerhouse forward pack.

“It’s been a really great start for them and it's a testament to the work they've put in to be where they are, it's outstanding,” McInnes said.

“They play tough footy, they compete really hard and that will be a massive challenge for us.

“But we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

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.

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