Shellharbour City Sharks aiming to go one better
Mick Satin - The Advertiser Lake Times
SHELLHARBOUR City Sharks hope a mix of fresh ideas and fresh faces will be enough to see last season’s runners-up go one better and take out the South Coast Group 7 Rugby League premiership in 2016.
Newly appointed first grade coach Abed Atallah has worked hard with his playing squad throughout pre-season.
He believes everyone at the club has really bought in to the ideas and structures he’s attempted to establish.
“Our work rate in defence was great last season and there’s a good culture here where everyone works really hard for each other,” he said.
“But in the past when we’ve been asked to get in to the grind with opposition teams I think we’ve struggled with our game plan.
“So that’s what we’ve been trying to change – making sure everyone knows their role and making sure everyone understands what our attacking and defensive structures are, so we can feel comfortable in those tight games.”
As well as new structures, the Sharks have a host of new faces at the club across all three senior grades in 2016, including former Canterbury Bulldogs Holden Cup player, James Ralphs.
The 23-year-old back-rower arrives in Shellharbour after a stint in the Illawarra Coal League with his hometown club, Dapto Canaries.
“I knew a few blokes at the Sharks and they’d all been saying how it was a great club to be around at the moment,” Ralphs said.
“So I thought I’d come over and have a run in Group 7 and see how I go.
“The coach seems really switched-on, we’re undefeated in our trials, and there are some really talented players here so I’m really looking forward to the season.”
Other notable inclusions for Shellharbour are former Queensland Cup forward Garret Field – cousin of last year’s rookie-of-the-year Jai Field – as well as play-maker Brock Skelly from the Albion Park-Oak Flats Eagles.
They will also be bolstered by returning prop-forward Craig Paku, and talented backline player Ed Ansell, who arrives from the Wagga Brothers club.