Matt Moylan, bench, Cronulla Sharks, Shaun Johnson, Chad Townsend, Braydon Trindall, John Morris

Rugby league legend Peter Sterling believes dropped Sharks star Matt Moylan will struggle to regain his place in Cronulla’s starting side and could have to settle for a bench role.

It is a stunning fall from grace for the former Origin and Test star, who is on a massive $850,000 a season contract.

The 29-year-old has struggled with injuries in his time in the Shire since moving from the Panthers in 2018 and Sterling believes he has fallen down the pecking order at both fullback and in the halves.

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“The players that are there are making it difficult for him to get back,” Sterling said on WWOS’ Sterlo’s Wrap.

“[Chad] Townsend and [Shaun] Johnson have been missing in recent weeks but they will come back in and they will be the halves pairing, in my opinion.

“[Braydon] Trindall and Connor Tracey have done a good job in their absence, so they’re keeping that little bit of pressure on.

“And Matt Moylan, who continues to have hamstring problems and consistency problems, I don’t know whether he can oust those players.


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“The other guy who comes in to that now is Will Kennedy; had his best game in the top grade in this match [against the Cowboys] as well. Maybe his form actually takes Moylan out of wearing the No.1 jersey also.”

Moylan has scored 28 tries in 132 NRL games since debuting in 2013, with the former Panthers skipper also playing three games for the Blues and one Test for the Kangaroos in 2016.

Sterling believes Moylan may have to swallow his pride and play a new role off the bench if he is to break back into the 17 in time for the finals.

“I think if Matt Moylan comes back fit, he will find it very difficult certainly to be on the run-on side because Townsend and Johnson are your six and seven as far as I’m concerned,” Sterling said.

“I think Kennedy is, not the surprise packet, but the guy who’s grabbed his opportunity because there would be talk maybe if Moylan was in contention, ‘What do we do with Josh Dugan, maybe change him as well’.

“But I think Kennedy at fullback, Johnson and Townsend as your halves. That puts Matt Moylan back on the bench.”

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Braydon Trindall stars as Cronulla Sharks ruin Valentine Holmes’ homecoming with North Queensland Cowboys

“That’s why I brought him in, I have full confidence in him and Connor Tracy as well,” Morris said.

“We had to apply for (dispensation) for Bradyen to come into the squad because he was the only other healthy half we had.

“He came in, did a real good job, steered us around really well and kicked four fom five with his goal-kicking and defended well. It was a really good inclusion.”

If not for the intervention of the video referee, Trindall would have nabbed a couple of four-pointers of his own. Wearing jersey No.23, he crossed for what would have been the sneakiest try of all time when he stole the Steeden from teammate Jesse Ramien to cross the stripe. Sadly, an obstruction in the lead up rendered it null and void.

It is the sort of ad-lib football that has resulted in Cronulla scoring more points than any other team this year.

Toby Rudolf finds his path blocked in Kogarah.

Toby Rudolf finds his path blocked in Kogarah.Credit:Getty

Tracey also played his part. The former Souths utility, having overcome a series of cruel injuries, scored a try of his own in a composed performance. All of a sudden, Morris’ selection headaches are welcome ones.

There were plenty of highlights, like Sione Katoa joining Alex Johnston at the top of the try-scorer’s list with an acrobatic put-down from a sublime Will Kennedy cut-out pass. But what would have pleased Morris most is keeping the Cowboys scoreless for 72 minutes.

It started well enough for the visitors. They didn’t score a single point in 80 minutes of football but suddenly found themselves in front here after just six. Kyle Feldt crossed off one of those fashionable rainbow passes, executed perfectly by Scott Drinkwater, to raise hopes of an upset. But that was as good as it got.

Shortly afterwards, Michael Morgan was off injured, likely for the rest of the year. This time it was a calf problem, one requiring scans to determine the damage. This was already a tough ask for the Cowboys without the sidelined Jason Taumalolo. The further loss of their inspirational halfback and captain proved too much.

It was an unhappy homecoming for Valentine Holmes, playing against his former club at Cronulla’s ‘home’ ground for the first time.


Some grudges never get old. As they were making their way up the tunnel at half-time, two opposing players had a go at each other. It came as no surprise to learn the spat involved Josh McGuire and Andrew Fifita. They don’t like each other when it’s state against state and they are certainly not mates. This time McGuire won’t be able to tweet about losers having meetings.

“I understand there was a bit of push and shove but I have no idea what it was about,” said Cowboys coach Josh Hannay.

What transpired before the game had almost as much impact on the prospects of both clubs as what happened during it. In the preceding match, the Warriors upset Newcastle. This is significant because they remain just two wins behind the Sharks, who need to keep winning to ensure their finals spot.

It could also be a positive development for North Queensland, given they are on the lookout for a coach with upside. The claims of Warriors coach Todd Payten, pitching up for Paul Green’s old job, just got stronger.

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