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500 days of summer: Solo sessions behind Ramien's Sharks return

It's been over 500 days between games in black, white and blue for Jesse Ramien.

Almost 100 of those were spent in limbo, training on his own with only John Morris's promise that he could fit him into Cronulla's overcrowded salary cap.

The exit from Newcastle last August, just nine months into a two-year contract with six games to play and finals on the line, was ugly.

The imputations around his professionalism, commitment and motivation, not pretty either.

But back under Morris's tutelage and readying for the NRL Nines, his first outing for Cronulla since September 2018, Ramien is cleaning up his act after a confronting three months without a club last year.

"It's been a long wait, it was a long time with everything that happened up there at Newy so I'm pretty keen to get out there and put a Sharks jersey on," Ramien told NRL.com.

"It was tough at the start sure. When it happened, it was like 'right, I'm in off-season now'.

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"And I'd turn on the TV and see all the boys still playing. That was tough. And it was tough to keep motivated at the start.

"I was doing a lot of solo stuff, there was one-on-one training with a few people and then some mates as well.

"But a lot of it was on my own because I couldn't go straight into a club environment. You do what you have to do."

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Morris did what he had to do as well, knowing there was no passing up a chance to bring Ramien back into the Sharks fold, having first brought him to the club from Manly in 2016.

The knock-on effects have been dramatic. Josh Morris requested and was denied a release to the Roosters as Cronulla's outside backs grew overstocked with talent.

Josh Dugan's future, clouded by a chronic knee injury and the club's unsuccessful attempts to offload him, became entwined too as Ramien firms for a start at right centre.  

The sell was a simple one. And more than enough for Ramien, who cooled his heels while Cronulla juggled their cap to register his four-year contract.

"Bomber (Morris) was the one who got me to the club first off to come play 20s with him," Ramien said.

"He made it clear back then that he liked the way I play then so when he called and said 'I want to get you back', that was big.

"I wasn't worried really when it seemed to be a hold up. I had a good chat with Bomber and he just said to me, 'If you want to come back there's room for you. If you're committed to come there's definitely a spot here for you'."

Still just 22 and three seasons into his career, Ramien concedes he has plenty to learn, as plenty do.

He has plenty planned to, starting a course in social work and setting himself up longterm in Woolooware, moving into an apartment directly opposite Cronulla's home ground, ready for when the stadium is rebuilt.

"Being a young kid coming in you can lack off the field a bit," Ramien said.

"Not stretching as much, having a few more beers, eating whatever you like. Bomber's drilling that into us.

"I've cleaned up my diet this year, that's my biggest change. My life outside of footy, on my days off I'm up, I'm moving, I'm doing something, not caught up in it all.

"I've just enrolled in youth work, I want to get involved in Aboriginal-specific work, getting out to remote communities and helping young Indigenous community from a welfare perspective, it's about looking beyond yourself."