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Sharks prop Matt Prior.

Sharks prop Matt Prior is set for an immediate switch to Super League club Leeds Rhinos in a move that would allow Trent Merrin to return to the Dragons.

To accommodate the return of Merrin, who finished last season as the Leeds captain, to his junior club, St George Illawarra are expected to release young forward Luciano Leilua to the Wests Tigers on a multi-year deal.

Prior, 32, has a year to go on his Cronulla contract but the dual premiership winner's departure would relieve the salary cap pressure on the club.

Sharks coach John Morris told early on Wednesday afternoon that nothing was official yet.

"It's obviously knowledge that there's an offer out there for him but nothing is confirmed from Matt or his management at this stage," Morris said.

The exit of the 253-gamer would continue an exodus of experience for Cronulla following the retirement of club stalwart Paul Gallen and versatile back-rower Kurt Capewell's switch to Penrith.

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However, Morris knows he can count on skipper Wade Graham and fellow senior players like Shaun Johnson to lift.

Graham is on leave after playing for Australia at season's end but such is his passion for the club, he's found it hard to stay away from the Sharks.

"I've been really impressed actually with Wado's leadership - he's been in and around the group and he's been in contact with myself and the staff," Morris said.

"He's dropped down to training and has seen all the young boys. As [has] Shaun Johnson, actually. Shauny's in doing a bit of training with the team even though he's on his leave from his rep footy.

"So I'm really enjoying that part of their leadership, to roll their sleeves up and get involved nice and early."

Replacing the ever-consistent Prior, a one-time NSW Origin representative player, would be no small task but Morris is comfortable the Sharks have the depth to do so. 

Morris said rising star Braden Hamlin-Uele will be jostling with veteran props Aaron Woods and Andrew Fifita for the run-on side.

"[Hamlin-Uele] showed what he did last year; he's ready to step up," Morris said.

"He's got some good competition for that spot. Aaron Woods forced his way back into our starting line-up and Hamlin-Uele got a New Zealand Test jumper.

"I think he'll be challenging Andrew Fifita for that starting spot and we've got some young middle forwards developing in Toby Rudolf, Jack Williams and Billy Magoulias.

"It's going to be interesting and it's good to see big boys fight it out for a jumper."

The Sharks on Wednesday announced a three-year partnership with Fijian team the Kaiviti Silktails, who will compete in the third-tier NSWRL Ron Massey Cup next year.

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NRL legend and Silktails ambassador Petero Civoniceva was on hand for the launch, telling he believes the alliance with Cronulla will create a clearer path to first grade for Fijian players.

"We're hoping we can unearth some really exciting talent," Civoniceva said.

"It's not just great for ourselves and the Sharks but it's also great for the game because we've seen so many wonderful stories of young guys who have been given opportunities and turned themselves into superstars.

"This is definitely going to fast-track that for a lot of our young players."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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