Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan has confirmed Andrew Fifita has recovered from a leg strain in time for Sunday’s NRL elimination final, but the Sharks mentor is unsure how he will use his strike weapon.
Fifita picked up a leg strain during his six-game club-imposed suspension, but will return against Souths at ANZ Stadium.
The former NSW and Kangaroos representative shapes as a key player in attack for the Sharks, who struggled badly to score points in their upset loss to Manly last weekend.
“Andrew will be there on Sunday he trained well yesterday, it was pleasing to see him get through the whole session and he will be raring to go,” Flanagan said on Friday.
“He adds that bit of X-factor for us, he is a big body and he can get forward and get some good metres. He has been out for a bit but he has trained pretty hard over that period.
“If we can get a 30 to 40 minutes out of him, some quality 30 to 40 minutes I will be happy.”
Fifita is one of the Sharks’ few gamebreakers and Flanagan is unsure if he will start the 26-year-old.
“I’m undecided as to whether I start with Andrew or bring him off the bench, he can get a little bit impatient sitting on the bench and watching the game unfold.
“It is an interesting one. Do we have another big player out there at the start of the game, or do I bring him off the bench for his impact? It is a good position to be in.”
Flanagan won’t settle on the make up of his bench until Sunday but Ben Barba will come into reckoning.
“Ben Barba is a chance, it is a tough decision I have to make on Sunday,” Flanagan said.
George Burgess and Issac Luke will miss the match through suspension for Souths and John Sutton will miss the rest of the season with an ankle injury.
However Flanagan is wary of the boost in confidence for the Rabbitohs following Greg Inglis’ return from two matches out with a knee injury.
“A half-fit Greg Inglis is still someone we have to concentrate on,” Flanagan said.
“He is a quality play, he will bring a lot to their team, not just the way he brings the ball back and the offensive powers that he does have, just the confidence he will give the rest of that team is a big bonus for Souths.”