Cronulla Sharks 2012 season preview

Cronulla’s season hinges on the Sharks decision to sign Todd Carney – masterstroke or disaster waiting to happen?

If Cronulla can keep new recruit Todd Carney on the straight and narrow then expect Shane Flanagan’s men to improve markedly. 

Carney remains one of the game’s most natural talents but trouble has a nasty habit of following the former Raiders and Roosters man around.

The Sharks squad has undergone a major overhaul during the close season and they look to have fixed some of their problem areas. 

Andrew Fifita’s arrival softens the blow of losing Kade Snowden and Luke Douglas and the Cronulla pack – led by the outstanding Paul Gallen – is rock solid.

Question marks hang over the Sharks backline and it is hard to see them troubling the leading contenders but they are heading in the right direction.

It is unclear who will partner Carney in the halves but if Flanagan finds the right partnership right away the Sharks could spring a surprise.

Prediction: 13th 

Players in: Jon Green (Dragons), Jeff Robson (Eels), Todd Carney (Roosters), Issac De Gois and Mark Taufua (Knights), Ben Ross (Rabbitohs), Bryce Gibbs and Andrew Fifita (Both Tigers)

Players out: Jon Mannah, Taulima Tautai (Both Eels), Dean Collis, Paul Aiton (Both Wakefield), Luke Harlen (Cowboys), Kade Snowden (Knights) and Luke Douglas (Titans)

Coach: Shane Flanagan – Cronulla have yet to come close to troubling the top eight under Flanagan but there is a lot to like about the way the club is heading and the club’s hierarchy believe they have the right man in place.

Star man: Paul Gallen – Has been the game’s standout forward for the last two years and a talismanic figure for the Sharks. Leads from the front and demands 100 percent commitment from those around him.  

Breakthrough year: Andrew Fifita – Talented but inconsistent for the Tigers, the giant youngster could flourish in the Shire and not without a chance of breaking into the Origin set up.

Young gun: Tyrone Peachey – Nephew of Cronulla legend David, the skilful loose forward made the 2011 Toyota Cup team of the year and is highly regarded by the Sharks.

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