Lewis to re-sign with the Sharks
Cronulla Sharks veteran Luke Lewis has confirmed he will remain at the club until the end of the 2017 season.
The 33-year-old has agreed to terms for a one-year extension that is likely to result in the end of his 17-season NRL career.
Lewis has played a pivotal role in the Sharks' brilliant season to date, and a win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs this Monday night would confirm their place in the top two on the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder.
The former New South Wales and Australian representative said conjecture over his future has been the least of his worries but was glad to have it sorted.
"I'm looking forward to the rest of the season with the Sharkies and hopefully having another good season after this year as well," Lewis said.
"It hasn't bothered me all year though. I didn't think too much about it throughout the season. I'm lucky to have re-signed but it hasn't stressed me out beforehand or even now.
"It's good though, I'm glad I'm here for 2017. But my main focus really has been footy and my little daughter."
While things have fallen into place off the field, Lewis has defended the Sharks for their recent performances on it.
Their 15-game win streak ended three weeks ago following a draw against the Titans. Over the past fortnight, the Sharks have been beaten by the Raiders and the Dragons.
"We have played bloody four, five months straight without a loss. We have two losses and a draw and everyone sits there and thinks the world has come to an end," Lewis said.
"I'm a big believer that there's a plan for everything and this is just our plan of getting to where we need to get to.
"At the end of the day, the eight teams who make it to the semis are three wins from the grand final so we'll see how we go from there."
The Sharks will spend a week in camp on New South Wales's Central Coast.
Amidst a nine-day turnaround the Sharks' journey out of Sydney was a planned trip away, not an impromptu one to address their recent shortcomings, according to fullback Ben Barba.
"I guess there's a different mindset and focus on what gets done up here during the week," Barba admitted, with the Sharks planning the trip in the middle of their winning run.
"The camp has come at a good time and it's a great opportunity for us to really sit down, I guess come together as a group and focus in on the coming weeks.
"The positivity is still there. One thing we know is we have only lost four games this season and I think people are quick to forget that.
"We have to get our head around the fact that we're one of the top sides that the teams on the other half of the table are chasing now. We're the hunted now and others are out trying to spoil our party."
A late withdrawal from last weekend's loss to the Dragons, skipper Paul Gallen remains in doubt to face the Rabbitohs despite being named.
"My understanding is that Gal really wanted to train [on Wednesday] but they thought they'd give him an extra day off," Lewis said. "I'm expecting him to play on Monday night."