Ricky Stuart Cronulla Shars NRLThe Cronulla Sharks need luck more than anything in their 2010 NRL campaign, but improvement won’t be hard given they finished so low in 2009.

In a positive sign, electronics company HiSense has jumped on board as the Sharks’ major sponsor in a smart move that immediately gets ‘one-up’ on rival LG (Lucky Goldstar) who pulled the pin on Cronulla last year after a long association.

With some growth in business support for the Sharks, now they need to gear up for some consistent performances on the NRL field.

While some recruitment was done in the form of  Dean Collis, John Morris, Adam Cuthbertson and Paul Aiton – the Sharks look to really lack some depth.

Collis when fit is certainly a damaging centre, some predicted he could be a future Origin star. But the Campbelltown product has failed to reach any heights in the past 18 months with a horror injury run. Even if the former Wests Tigers outside back remains fit, he will need time to gain his confidence and find peak form. Time that the Sharks just don’t have, as they need some thrust right now.

John Morris will be a workhorse as he always is, but the journeyman needs to curb his penalty problems. He gives away as many penalties as anyone else in the NRL which places plenty of pressure on his team. Solid, but not a superstar that can carry the Cronulla outfit to the finals.

It’s a similar story for Adam Cuthbertson. The man they call ‘The Hat’ has talent and is an honest, hardworking forward – but Cronulla need more. Cuthbertson is a rising star and will add vaule, but he can’t do it all on his own in the engine room for the Sharks.

Trent Barrett remains the lone ranger for this outfit. Baz might be coming to the end of his career, but at 32, he remains in good health and seems to be positive and passionate about his footy. He’s creativity is sorely needed by the Sharks, as they struggle more than any other side to score points. If Barrett can link well with Tupou consistently, then there might be some hope for the club that still desires their first ever Premiership.

Aiton looks to be their best pickup for the year, the former Penrith Panther has been a promising hooker for some time but never seemed to get the respect he deserved out West. Expect big things from Aiton if he can remain injury free for this season.

Cronulla have also lost a batch of talented players that could have helped, the biggest being Brett Kearney. He might have been injury prone, but Kearney can score points by the truck load. The Sharks will miss him and he should absolutely slay them in the UK Super League.

Also sent packing were the likes of Corey Hughes who probably chose the right time to walk away, promising half Blake Green who linked with the Bulldogs, Mitch Brown who did a revolving door with Collis, heading to the Tigers and finally Bronx Goodwin who left for the Storm. Goodwin in particular will be sorely missed, the rising star was always solid in a losing side for the Sharks and they should have done more to secure him.

The other reason the poor Cronulla outfit need plenty of luck, is there below average crowd support. In past seasons, the Shire folk have not turned up at Toyota Park to support their team and this has turned it into a welcome hunting ground for away teams.

Additional crowd numbers and boosted memberships are drastically needed.

To summarise, no Top 8 for the Sharkies this year. They’ll battle it out in the cellar with the likes of Newcastle, Canberra and the North Queensland Cowboys.

By ricky

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