Expect more attack from Sharks: Flanagan
Cronulla will become a more attacking side in 2016 as their overhauled playmaking line-up follows an edict from the coach to pile on the points.
Cronulla scrapped and defended their way to some ugly wins as they shocked plenty of sides and finished just a win away from a top four finish last year.
But with James Maloney and Chad Townsend among the new names in the Shire this year there will be more points from the black, white and blues in 2016, according to coach Shane Flanagan.
"Previous years we haven't scored a lot of points but I think this year, especially with our two new halves and our new fullback, I'd like to think we'll have a few more points in us and not just be defence-orientated," Flanagan said.
"I still like that philosophy of being a very good defensive team but I think we'll be able to score some points this year. When we come together, it's not going to click straight away but eventually it will."
Flanagan stopped short of confirming exactly who his first choice fullback will be, but his suggestion that last year's super sub Ben Barba is too good to play from the bench is a hint that 2015 rookie of the year Jack Bird could find himself in the centres sooner rather than later.
"In the group we're pretty decided where we'll go but it'll be all about the dynamics of the team," Flanagan said of the fullback conundrum.
"We've got a few blokes who still have niggling injuries in the outside backs so I'll see how training goes this week then I'll make a call early next week but the team, all the individuals within our team are all comfortable where they're at and I'll pick players in the best interest of the team."
That appears to mean young gun Valentine Holmes will have to continue to bide his time on the wing for now.
However Flanagan was confident Bird could do a job at the back if required after watching the 20-year-old play there at times in his under-20s career at the Dragons.
"When we bought him we bought him as a centre or outside back. He'd never played consistently at five-eighth and during the pre-season of last year we saw some signs that he could do those things that a five-eighth does, very similar to a fullback, sweeping out the back."
Although Flanagan said it was a risk at the time to use Bird in the halves, he handled the physicality well and would use the strengths he showed last year to now adapt to the outside backs.
"He's probably not a traditional five-eighth where he's setting up his outside backs and organising the team. He's more of an individual and a runner. That more suits him to fullback or centre but he definitely can fall in there," Flanagan said.
"At some stage this year he could play five-eighth for us again. I just needed to make sure I had the consistency in training and in trial games with Chad and Jimmy that I wasn't swapping and changing there, so I can't use that as an excuse that I was undecided on my halves."