NRL analyst Phil Gould has questioned whether the Cronulla Sharks are as good as their roster suggests they should be, after an up-and-down 2020 season.
The Sharks were formidable against the Manly Sea-Eagles in a 40-22 shellacking on the central coast of NSW.
But Gould was not convinced that the 3-4 (win-loss) Sharks were playing to their potential against a Manly team left “vulnerable” by the hamstring injury set to keep Tom Trbojevic sidelined for some time.
“The Sharks have got a top-eight roster, but I just think they lack a hard edge,” Gould said on Wide World of Sports’ Final Whistle segment.
“They haven’t got the leadership or the hard edge about them. They tend to [think] ‘close enough is good enough’. They only did what they had to do today.
“There was no real aggression about them all season that I’ve seen.
“Who is going to stand up as a leader of that organisation when they get in the really tough, tight games against the good sides that keeps them on track?”
Cronulla great and premiership-winning former NRL star Paul Gallen said that it comes down to their big men to lead the way, but he trusts that the entire side will lift.
“Wade [Graham] has got to get fitter but I think it comes down to the front-rowers Andrew Fifita and Aaron Woods [to stand up],” he said.
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“I think the Sharks have got a lot of improvement in them.
“I genuinely think they’re a top-eight side. When you look through that playing roster, they’ve got too much talent not to be.
“Wade Graham is only going to get better, and we know how much ball he demands and how good he can be at times, so I think there’s only improvement in them and fingers crossed they can get on a bit of a run playing the Titans next week. “