Sharks circle Storm centre Dane Nielsen

Melbourne centre Dane Nielsen could be on his way back to Cronulla next season as the Storm’s player purge starts to pick up pace.<br><br>The Sharks are one of four clubs to have expressed an interest in the 25-year-old, who was first recruited by the club six years ago and made his NRL debut for them in late 2007 before moving to Melbourne the following season.<br><br>Nielsen has expressed his desire to stick with the Storm next season but that is looking increasingly unlikely as they try to shed a massive $1.2 million in playing talent in order to fit under the salary cap.<br><br>Cronulla have struggled to score points this season and are in the market for outside backs.<br><br>The club held a football committee meeting last night where Nielsen’s name was again raised.<br><br>“He is definitely someone … we are looking for an outside back and he is on the market,” Sharks football manager Darren Mooney told NRL.com.<br><br>“He is one of a number of players we might be interested in.<br><br>“His name has come up in discussions but there are other names as well.”<br><br>Nielsen is the unluckiest of Melbourne’s off-contract stars, having essentially agreed to terms with the club but not yet put pen to paper when news of the Storm’s salary cap rorts broke in April.<br><br>Since then the club has seen impressive young prop Aiden Tolman sign with Canterbury along with fellow forward Ryan Tandy, who was granted an immediate release to join the Bulldogs this week.<br><br>Nielsen is one of a number of off-contract players, including Brett Finch and Luke MacDougall, likely to be forced out at the end of the year with his manager Andrew Purcell admitting the time was coming for his client to start considering his options.<br><br>“It’s funny – we were within days of re-signing when the news came and they lost their ability to re-sign anyone,” Purcell said. “We’ve had no indication that Melbourne don’t want him to stay, they’re just hamstrung at the moment. <br><br>“But there is going to come a time when he is going to have to look after himself as well – he can’t just wait for a bus that’s not going to turn up. <br><br>“He is very loyal to the club and he understands that they’ve played a big role in getting him to where he is today but we’re in a very unique situation.”<br><br>However, Purcell said that Nielsen would have no trouble finding a new home in 2011.<br><br>“There still isn’t anything concrete at the moment but there are a few clubs circling,” he said. Asked about Cronulla’s interest, he replied: “They’ve made an enquiry about him. <br><br>“At the moment it’s still just a case of asking where he is at – nobody has come forward and said ‘Yes we definitely want to sign him tomorrow’ – but they have shown an interest, yes.”<br><br>“Like everyone though, there are still pieces of the puzzle in different areas being shifted around.<br><br>“It’s the whole market – it’s all been thrown into disarray because of the Melbourne Storm situation.”<br><br>Cronulla’s recruitment and retention has also been put on hold while assistant coach Shane Flanagan, who will take over from head coach Ricky Stuart in 2011, is away on State of Origin duty with NSW.<br><br>“We’ve been doing a bit of stuff over the phone but it’s not the best time,” Mooney said.<br><br>“Only the guys at Melbourne really know what’s going on at the moment and their managers. <br><br>“I think a lot of that will come out over the next few months. <br><br>“We’ve got most of our roster settled but we just need a few more.”