Injury-free Sharks on right track
The Cronulla Sharks are almost completely injury free and ready to put a horror 2014 behind them according to halfback Jeff Robson.
Forward David Fifita is the only Cronulla player currently on the sideline, with a foot injury preventing him from running unless aided by an antigravity treadmill, and the Sharks are excited by the huge number of players present at training.
"It's good to be out on the field with the boys and I think it’s the first time in any pre-season I've been involved in where we have had pretty much everyone bar one player training on the field, so fingers crossed it stays that way leading into the season and we remain injury-free throughout," Robson told NRL.com.
"It's a massive change compared to last year. We had that many injuries throughout the pre-season and the season it was sort of unheard of. I've never been involved in anything like that previously.
"If we can continue to train well and keep everyone on the park leading into Round 1 it will only be beneficial for us in the long run."
The Sharks debuted 10 players last season - five of them still remain at the club - and played another 26 on top of that – a long list of injuries well and truly tested the depth of the club in a well-documented season that led to the wooden spoon.
Key trio Andrew Fifita, Paul Gallen and Luke Lewis failed to play a single game together.
Robson however is confident the club's dark days are behind.
"Obviously there were a few incidents that the club isn't proud of. [Coach Shane Flanagan] is across these things we're trying to build as a club and we're definitely heading in the right direction and hopefully we can let our football do the talking this year and keep on the good side of the media and out of the papers," Robson said.
"Flanno has been really good for us. He is really direct with what he wants and all the boys know that. I think we'll only benefit from it."
The Sharks playing stocks have been bolstered by the inspirational Michael Ennis, his former Bulldogs teammates Mitch Brown and livewire Ben Barba as well as former Dragons trio Kyle Stanley, Jack Bird and Gerard Beale.
Robson believes Cronulla are better placed compared to his past seasons at the club.
"Micky Ennis has been really good for us. He's a true leader and whenever he speaks, we listen," Robson said. "He's a good fella and on top of that, with Barba and young Jacky Bird as well as the few others that have come to the club, they have really stepped up and have pushed other boys to strive and make themselves better."