Smith signing adds bite to Sharks pack - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Smith signing adds bite to Sharks pack

11/08/2010 06:15:15 PM Comments (0)

Cronulla forward Paul Gallen says the signing of fellow hardman Jeremy Smith means the Sharks can now boast one of the most formidable packs in the NRL.

Smith, a New Zealand Test representative and uncompromising second-rower, has agreed to join the Sharks from St George Illawarra for the next three seasons, as the struggling side attempts to turn their fortunes around with a strong recruitment drive.

Cronulla now feature an all-star back row of Gallen, Anthony Tupou and the 25-year-old Smith, as well as promising props Kade Snowden and Luke Douglas up front.

Gallen agreed the Sharks will be difficult to match in the middle, but warned games aren't won on reputation and said the club still needs to sign an outside back before they can start thinking about the top eight.

"Definitely on paper it does, it's just a matter of performing on the field. We've got a pretty strong pack this year and we haven't performed, it all depends on what we do on the field," Gallen told AAP.

"Adding (Smith) to it makes it a pretty formidable pack, but we've got to score some points. That's probably our big problem at the moment and probably will be next year if we don't get some outside backs too, so fingers crossed we get an outside back or two as well."

Cronulla are in the market for in-form Penrith winger Brad Tighe and South Sydney flyer, and former Shark, Colin Best to bolster their attacking ability next season.

Souths have offered Best a one year deal, but the former Dally M centre of the year is after a two-year contract, which is what the Sharks have tabled to him at this stage.

Tighe is being sought after by several clubs, but Cronulla are hopeful, having already signed Panthers young gun Wade Graham to be their new five-eighth.

Gallen said the experienced Smith is an ideal fit for the Sharks philosophy and shows the stigma of players not wanting to sign with the besieged club may have eased.

"I suppose the things that went on last year certainly turned a few people away and obviously the rumours that we have money trouble would turn people around but I think that's all turned around now," Gallen added.

"The club is well and truly on its feet and just the players we've got in our squad now if we can keep them together I think we can win more games than we lose next year so I think things are definitely looking up for us.

"(Smith) is something we need too, I think we need a couple of older blokes in the team a few older heads around and it's obviously going to stiffen us up a fair bit too."

Gallen said he hoped the Sharks could hold onto off-contract forwards Grant Millington and Josh Cordoba to ensure their depth.

New Sharks coach Shane Flanagan said the signing of Smith was fantastic news for the club.

"He has played at an international level along with quality clubs like Melbourne and St George with great commitment and desire and he is definitely a player who can make a huge difference to our team," Flanagan said.

Smith was a member of the 2008 Kiwis' World Cup winning team and the 2007 Melbourne grand final-winning side.

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