Grand final squads remain a mystery
Rival coaches Shane Flanagan and Craig Bellamy have refused to reveal the final make-up of their respective squads ahead of Sunday's NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final.
The Sharks have named the same 17 that took care of the Cowboys in last weekend's preliminary final, but have added Sam Tagataese and Joseph Paulo to an extended bench.
Tagataese hasn't played since he fractured his scapula back in Round 22 against the Canberra Raiders, but revealed to NRL.com earlier this week that he would be ready to go if picked.
The news isn't so good for Paulo, with Flanagan ruling him out of Sunday's clash due to an ongoing knee injury he picked up in the Round 26 loss to the Storm.
It appears to be a race between Tagataese and youngster Kurt Capewell, who has filled in admirably for the Sharks in the finals series.
"Joseph Paulo definitely won't play, but I'll make my mind up on the other two as the week goes on," Flanagan said.
"In my mind I have [finalised the squad]. We've got another training run on Saturday, but it'll be out of [Capewell and Tagataese].
"He [Tagataese] trained well today and is ready to go if I need him."
While doubts remain over the composition of Flanagan's side, Sharks skipper Paul Gallen declared himself a certain starter despite sending scares through the camp after he was a no show at Wednesday night's Dally M awards.
The 35-year-old missed his side's qualifying final win in Canberra due to a back complaint but said there was no chance of him missing his first ever grand final.
"I trained today and got through the session OK," Gallen said.
"Just sitting down for long periods of time isn't ideal. There won't be an issue for Sunday."
The biggest mystery surrounds the possible selection of utility Ben Hampton, who failed to take the field against the Raiders in Melbourne's grand final qualifier, and has only been used sparingly in his previous two outings.
Bellamy said it wasn't an ideal situation to have a player sit on the sidelines for the entire 80 minutes, but conceded that was simply a by-product of how the game panned out.
"Same as 'Flanno', I'll have a look on Saturday and go from there," he said.
"I don't like leaving a guy on the bench the whole game – in any game, especially a prelim. Those guys see that as a big game so they want to be playing in it.
"But just seeing as the game went, I thought we were better off with the other players. Benny understood that so he's been training really hard this week. As Flanno said, he's ready to go if we need him."