Five Key Points – Sharks v Tigers

1 Holmes finds a home
He may be one of the best wingers in the game, however Valentine Holmes showed in 40 minutes on Saturday that he is set to be equally if not more dangerous at fullback in the weeks, months and years to come if his dazzling first half display is anything to go by.

Holmes threw the last pass for one try and scored two of his own in showing any doubters that while he continues to be a work on progress at the back, the improvements in his game even at this early stage of the season is evident.

With Matt Moylan and Josh Dugan in the Sharks squad coach Shane Flanagan has some options as far as fullbacks go, however Holmes has for the time being at least secured the numbers one jersey with his first 40 minutes against the Tigers.  

 

2 Sharks squad runs deep
Sharks Coach Shane Flanagan repeated his satisfaction in relation to the depth of talent at his disposal, expressing in a post-match interview that “a number of quality first graders are going to miss out”  in week one in referring to the team to take on the Cowboys.

Flanagan will find it hard to find places for a handful of players who are well and truly of NRL standard, with a number of those players impressing in both the Intrust Super Premiership trial and during the second half of the NRL match that followed.

Injuries to front rowers Braden Uele and Ava Seumanufagai, with both yet to be assessed as to the seriousness of their problems, might open an opportunity for a newcomer or an up and comer in round one, with a number ticking the boxes and putting their names forward with their performances on Saturday night.  

 

3 No need for Moylan concern
He was only ever going to play 50-odd minutes, with a short conversation between Matt Moylan and the Sharks coaching and medical staff at half time resulting in them agreeing they had all seen enough, with the five eighth rested for the second half of the trial against the Tigers.

Moylan had looked sharp down the Sharks left hand side, while also looking dangerous in exploiting his license to roam over to the right and to wherever an attacking opportunity presented.

It was an impressive 40-minute effort from the Sharks new recruit and one which has Wade Graham and Ricky Leutele in particular as his teammates who line up next to him on the left-hand side, excited about the prospects for the season ahead.

His coming off at half time was more about making sure Moylan is at full health and 100 per cent come round one in Townsville.    

 

4 Is Chad the man?
There is likely to be a few interesting shootouts at training over the next fortnight as the Sharks look to decide on their first choice goal kicker for the 2018 season.

Chad Townsend took the kicking tee on Saturday with mixed success, although his tally of two goals from five attempts was somewhat misleading.

With the Sharks tries scored out wide, all five of Townsend’s attempts were from difficult angles, the half back hitting the upright with one and narrowly missing with the other unsuccessful kicks.

It might now come down to a training ‘kick off’ with Townsend, Matt Moylan and Valentine Holmes the candidates to assume the duties come round one.

 

5 Sharks excited by what lies ahead
As reported in the Sunday papers, Sharks coach Shane Flanagan made the trip up to Brisbane on Friday to get a first-hand look at their week one opponents and he wouldn’t have been too surprised by what he saw.

Flanagan witnessed the skill of Johnathan Thurston, with the little master scoring a try and kicking across field for the match winner as the siren was sounding.

He also saw the return of Matt Scott and a brilliant display from Kyle Feldt on North Queensland’s right wing.  

However rather than be daunted by the prospect of travelling to Townsville, on a night where the Cowboys are set to celebrate Thurston’s 300th game, to a man the Sharks are looking forward to the challenge.

In post-match interviews, Flanagan, Ricky Leutele, Jayden Brailey and Co-Captain Wade Graham all used the word ‘excited’ when talking about their first-up clash.

It will be a big occasion, but a win over one of the competition’s hotshots would be the perfect way to start and would set the Sharks up for a huge 2018 season. 

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