A potential six-week knee injury to Ronaldo Mulitalo is set to fast-track Cronulla's signing of ex-Storm star Will Chambers to ease a mounting backline injury toll.
The latest hit for the Sharks comes on the back of second-rower Siosifa Talakai re-signing until the end of 2023, the first of 14 off-contract Sharks to sort their future in the wake of John Morris's abrupt sacking this week.
Chambers is among several outside back targets Cronulla have weighed up as an immediate signing.
NRL.com understands a base-wage, six-month deal for the 32-year-old is firming for sign-off, with Chambers to make his bid for a Telstra Premiership return via feeder side Newtown Jets if it comes to fruition.
Mulitalo's recovery from an ongoing knee issue he has carried for some time has been pinned between "3-6 weeks" by club officials.
Knights v Sharks - Round 6
The winger will join fellow outside backs Josh Dugan (concussion, round 7), Sione Katoa (knee, round 8-10) and Jackson Ferris (foot, round 10) as onlookers heading into Friday's trip to Newcastle, accelerating Cronulla's need for reinforcements out wide.
After the COVID-19 pandemic cut short his Japanese rugby stint, Chambers fits that bill with 215 NRL games, two Storm premierships and 13 Queensland Origin outings making him an attractive proposition.
Chambers has been training at times with his old Melbourne teammates since returning to the Victorian capital last year.
It is understood another Sydney-based NRL club has also made enquiries about Chambers but Cronulla remain the frontrunners to secure his services.
Fitzgibbon backed to succeed by Robinson
In a week of unwanted headlines for the club, the successful retention of Talakai is a welcome one.
NRL.com understands the Bulldogs were among rival clubs to express interest in the 23-year-old forward, though his priority was always to stay put in the Sutherland Shire.
The two-year deal is a deserved reward for his blockbusting form since signing a train-and-trial deal just 18 months ago.
Before that Talakai took up work as a garbage collector after being sacked by South Sydney, initially training with Newtown at the invitation of Jets forward Wesley Lolo.
Talakai makes his own return from a shoulder injury against the Knights under caretaker coach Josh Hannay, who will guide the side this year before Craig Fitzgibbon takes over.
"It’s definitely exciting, humbling and refreshing to have the club back me and want me back," Talakai said.
"The body is good, but it’s a good pack we’re coming up against and a good test for my shoulder. I’ve been waiting for this for six months."
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