Josh Lewis has been something of an enigma over the past 4 years. The former Sydney Rooster is now a journeyman, after being told by the Bondi club he wasn’t in their plans when the tri-colours had a plethora of talent in the halves; including Jamie Soward, Mitch Pearce and Braith Anasta – hence Lewis was forced to move on.
But after a recent off-season phone call from Ricky Stuart inviting the talented half to Cronulla, the opportunity is there for Lewis to really stamp his mark on the NRL in the 2010 season.
After leaving Bondi, Lewis had stints with the Gold Coast Titans and Wests Tigers lower grades – but was rarely able to settle in and find a permanent first grade position in the halves with the likes of Prince and Rogers ahead of him and Benji Marshall at the Tigers.
Lewis is still only 24 years of age and after choosing to take a season off this year, the phone call from Stuart has been a major turning point.
The chance to link with his old coach and cement himself as a consistent first grader is an attractive proposition at the Sharks. With Trent Barrett a certainty in the halves, the alternate position is certainly up for grabs. Rookie Scott Porter did a commendable job at the backend of 2009, but cannot be considered a guaranteed starter just yet.
The Sharks have struggled for a genuine no.7 since Brett Seymour was booted out by the club for misbehavior and the strike-power of big name Barrett is reduced with such a big onus soley on his shoulders.
When asked why the decision to recruit Josh Lewis, Sharks coach Ricky Stuart hinted at the attacking-ability of Lewis. The Sharks have struggled to score point in the last few seasons and that has heaped so much pressure on their defence. Even the introduction of Anthony Tupou to the club, a noted playmaker who can start something from anywhere with his offloads – has been unable to introduce any spark to the side.
Lewis is a genuine attacking no.7 – and will generally take the try-scoring option over safety-first players. Something the Cronulla side desperately needs as they continue to go through a rebuilding phase.
The timing could be just right for the club and the journey-man Lewis, and both parties will be hoping their new marriage leads to success in 2010 and beyond.