Cronulla are facing a struggle to field a team this weekend with experienced outside back Jonathan Wright set for a ban for a lifting tackle.
Crisis club Cronulla are struggling to field a side for their clash with North Queensland next Monday after experienced outside back Jonathan Wright was slugged with a grade three lifting tackle.
The former Parramatta and Canterbury centre will spend three weeks on the sidelines with an early guilty plea for his tackle on Jarrod Croker in the Sharks’ 22-12 loss to the Raiders on Sunday, but could face five if he fights the charge and loses.
Cronulla were unable to call on the services of 17 players for the Raiders game due to injuries and ASADA suspensions and also lost young playmaker Fa’amanu Brown to a medial ligament injury that will keep him out for the rest of the year.
Front-line players such as Luke Lewis, Andrew Fifita, Sam Tagataese, David Fifita and Bryce Gibbs are amongst those in the treatment room.
Winger Beau Ryan was forced into retirement earlier this year due to ongoing neck problems while Todd Carney was sacked by the club following a lewd photograph of him appearing on social media.
This is in addition to Paul Gallen, Wade Graham, Anthony Tupou, Nathan Gardner and John Morris being banned for the rest of the year by the anti-doping authority last Friday.
The club also lost Isaac De Gois to Parramatta with utility back Nathan Stapleton offloaded to the Sydney Roosters earlier this season.
Stand-in coach James Shepherd has been forced to turn to rookies such as Valentine Holmes, Scott Sorensen and Junior Roqica in recent weeks.
Sharks chief executive Steve Noyce denied that the club needed to go to the NRL to get dispensation to get salary cap relief to sign players but conceded the roster is very thin.
“It’s not salary cap relief we need it’s bodies,” Noyce told AAP.
“But we’ll get a team out.”
Manly prop Jason King is facing a one-game ban following his high tackle on Parramatta back-rower Tepai Moeroa last Friday.
However, Manly may opt to fight the charge at the judiciary hearing on Wednesday with King to miss only one game even if he’s found guilty.
King’s teammate Jorge Taufua will be free to face Penrith this weekend if he takes the early plea for a grade one dangerous contact with the foot on ex-Manly star Will Hopoate in the Sea Eagles’ 22-12 defeat.