Sharks 2023 preview: Hynes magic shines confidence over Shark Park

Sharks 2023 preview: Hyne's magic exudes confidence across Shark Park
Shark Park was the scene of a departure last year: Nicho Hynes. The rugby league world already knew Melbourne’s fill-in fullback-turned-Star Cronulla halfback was a game-changer, but when he was plugged into the heart of Craig Fitzgibbon’s project, he showed just how dominant he can really be could.

All of that was wiped out in the 2022 NRL Finals with a shock semifinal knockout, but Hynes and the Sharks still had a hot run.

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Not much has changed for the Cronulla lineup heading into the new season, and with all the lessons from Fitzgibbon’s freshman year – and Hynes has gained confidence – next year could be even better for the Sharks. When your key playmaker is arguably the best in the game, it boosts confidence in practice, in games, and in every game.

conclusion of the last year: 2nd, 18 wins and six losses

Last ten NRL campaigns: 2nd (Semi), 9th, 8th (Qualification), 7th (Qualification), 4th (Prelim), 5th (Qualification), 3rd (Premiers), 6th (Semi), Spoon, 5th ( semi)

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Estimated line-up for round 1

  1. Will Kennedy
  2. Sione Katoa
  3. jess ramien
  4. Siosifa Talakai
  5. Ronaldo Multitalo
  6. Matt Moylan
  7. Nico Hynes
  8. Toby Rudolph
  9. Blayke Brailey
  10. Braden Hamlin-Uele
  11. British Nikora
  12. Batter Wilton
  13. Dale Finucane
  14. Cameron McInnes
  15. Oregon Kaufusi
  16. Royce Hunt
  17. Wade Graham

Coach: Craig Fitzgibbon

biggest loss: Andrew Fifita, Aiden Tolman Biggest win: Oregon Kaufusi

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What 2023 looks like for Cronulla

Nicho Hynes is already under pressure to repeat his Dally-M form in 2023, and the Sharks’ fate will be closely tied to the halfback leading the Sky Blue team through the park.

So the fact that Hynes is doubtful for the opening rounds is a big concern.

Whether he starts on lap one or lap four, it doesn’t matter – all eyes will be on the 26-year-old, and not least his Cronulla team-mates. If he can right back up to the quality he produced every week last season, the entire team will be at his side again and quickly become a 2023 title challenger.

There are a few issues with the Sharks roster, including Matt Moylan never returning to his former heights and several stars like Siosifa Talakai and Will Kennedy who are rocks and diamonds in the two dozen NRL rounds.

That said, all of that goes away when Hynes does his best. He is so good at the peak of his powers that he can make up for other players’ shortcomings; it’s just a matter of whether Fitzgibbon can get him to roar like that or reach even higher powers in 2023. Scary figured he might still have his best years ahead as he heads into his 30s.

Expected end of 2023: 4

The first five: Rabbitohs (H), Eels (A), Hunters (A), Dragons (A), Warriors (H)

TopSport Odds: Premiers $12, Make Top 4: $2.80, Make Final 8: $1.42, Miss The Top 8: $2.70

minimum score: Fight more in the postseason.

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