Big Sharks recruits impress Flanagan
In the NRL in 2018 size certainly matters.
The most skilful of halves, the speedy and elusive outside backs, are sometimes only as good as the big guys in the middle, the forwards laying the platform and creating time and space for them to perform.
Next season the Sharks will again boast a strong pack, with props Andrew Fifita and Matt Prior set to lead the way up front, Luke Lewis, Wade Graham, Jayson Bukuya and Kurt Capewell to do their stuff on the edges.
Paul Gallen will again provide his special brand of go-forward, as he has done for over 15-years and in more than 300-games, with the returning forwards this year to be assisted by two new big boppers, front rowers looking to make a name for themselves while helping the Sharks become a premiership force once again in 2018.
Ava Seumanufagai has arrived from the Tigers, Braden Uele from Townsville and the Cowboys, with the pair tipping the scales somewhere near 115kgs each and ready to have an impact.
Sharks coach Shane Flanagan has liked what he has seen so far and has high hopes for the new front row pair.
Seumanufagai, with 100 NRL games to his credit, brings experience, a strong work ethic and a solid attitude, with the physical performances staff pleased with what they been able to achieve in his time at the Sharks so far.
“Ava has been really good. He hadn’t done a lot of the training that we’ve do so it’s all new to him. He hasn’t done a lot of leg work in the gym (previously) so I think we’re going to see some real benefits from that. He’s going to be big and strong at the line, Flanagan continued.
"He's got a really big motor and can play good minutes.
"He's a different build to my other two. Matt Prior is tall and athletic and Andrew (Fifita) is a bigger body. Ava is kind of in between those two. He adds good shape to our front row. They will all play but I can't say yet who starts and who comes off the bench. It's a good dilemma to have."
As for Uele, at just 22-years of age the New Zealand-born prop has shown agility and skill during the summer training sessions so far, attributes which complement his impressive frame.
“Braden has looked sharp. He’s lost a bit of weight, worked really hard in the gym and he’s got sharp feet,” Flanagan said.
Throw in last year’s Intrust Super Premiership Player of the Year Kurt Dillon, youngsters Cruz Topai-Aveai, Daniel Vasquez and Eddie Faluaa and if size does in fact make a difference, the Sharks appear well equipped in 2018.