Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan has confirmed Sam Tagataese will play in the NRL grand final against Melbourne.
Tagataese comes into the ANZ Stadium clash on Sunday having not played in five weeks due to a shoulder injury.
Flanagan told the Sunday Footy Show, the 29-year-old has pulled up well after a solid week at training and the coach is thrilled to see the big man return.
“He gives us a bit of size to match the Storm forwards … he comes back today at just the right time,” Flanagan said.
The Sharks mentor arrived at Cronulla Leagues Club early on Sunday ahead of the team’s bus trip to Homebush at 345 AEDT and admitted it’s been hard not getting caught up in the excitement around the Sutherland Shire.
Tagataese’s place on the bench means Kurt Capewell drops out of the Sharks’ 17.
Meanwhile, utility Ben Hampton looks set to retain his place on the Storm bench despite not playing a minute during last week’s preliminary-final victory over Canberra.
While coach Craig Bellamy is keeping his cards close to his chest, it’s expected Hampton will be selected ahead of a fourth forward on the bench with highly rated youngster Felise Kaufusi unlucky to miss out.
Bellamy has until one hour before kickoff at 715 AEDT to name his 17-man side.