Next up in his NRL Recruitment Watch series, NICK TEDESCHI breaks down who the Cronulla Sharks may be looking at, who they should be going after, and the areas on the roster that need shoring up for 2018.
Needs: South Sydney are in desperate need of outside backs and sizable forwards who can make metres without dropping the ball.
The Bunnies have arguably the worst contingent of outside backs in the premiership and need to add some class. There are elements of speed but almost no skill and very little punch.
Queensland gun Dane Gagai will help alleviate the shortfall – and Greg Inglis’ season-long injury has exacerbated it – but depth out wide is also an issue with Bryson Goodwin and Aaron Gray moving on.
When it comes to the pack, the Rabbitohs are crying out for forwards who can bend the line and won’t get trampled. Letting Nathan Brown go was a huge mistake. The Burgess boys are not only dropping everything but are as flat as a board.
@SSFCRABBITOHS are so disappointing. All the Burgess Bros aren’t the players they were. Sam has lost the edge. Tom & George, terrible. #NRL
— NRL Fanatic (@nrl_fanatic) May 26, 2017
Fair dinkum….Tom & George Burgess….dicks for fingers. Handling is so poor. #NRLTigersSouths
— d a v i d (@TheEducatedEel) May 12, 2017
2018 Recruits: Dane Gagai, Dean Britt
2018 Losses: Aaron Gray, Bryson Goodwin, Robbie Rochow, Dane Nielsen
Off-Contract: John Sutton, Dave Tyrell, Anthony Cherrington, Luke Kelly, Jack Gosiewski, Brett Greinke
Rumours: The Rabbitohs have been linked to a big-money half with Cooper Cronk and James Maloney rumoured targets. Cronk, though, is more likely to sign with Canterbury – despite his link with Souths coach Michael Maguire from his Melbourne days – and Maloney now seems certain to stay with Cronulla, pending the premiers’ pursuit of Cronk. Cody Walker is pushing for a release from what he believes is a below-par contract, but the Rabbitohs won’t let him go unless they can snaffle a Cronk or Maloney type.
The Bunnies have reportedly had a dip at Latrell Mitchell, one that was quickly stopped by the Roosters, who have returned fire by trying to snatch boom Souths back-rower Angus Crichton.
Warriors and Maroons stalwart Jacob Lillyman has been linked to a move to Redfern, but Gold Coast’s Agnatius Paasi is the forward most likely to end up at the Rabbitohs.
0 – @NZWarriors‘ Jacob Lillyman has made 191 carries, 250 tackles from 651mins in ’17; the most of any player yet to make an error. Class. pic.twitter.com/5jTU4gNM3t
— OptaJason (@OptaJason) July 1, 2017
Players to Target: Paasi and Lillyman would be two excellent value signings for Souths, who need to add some quality and depth to their stagnating pack.
Brenton Lawrence, Bodene Thompson and Adam Blair would be another three players worth chasing.
Cowboys flyer Gideon Gela-Mosby is the most exciting free agent among the outside-back contingent and Souths would be the club who are in most need of giving him a look.
HEIGHT!: Gideon Gela-Mosby soars as Antonio Winterstein and Braden Uele approach#NRLRoostersCowboys #ridemcowboys pic.twitter.com/6O41R77nwG
— NQ Cowboys (@nthqldcowboys) July 26, 2017