Shane Flanagan is confident Paul Gallen will shun retirement for one final NRL season and play for Cronulla in their 50th year in 2017.
Gallen is off-contract with the Sharks at season’s end after signing a one-year deal last year.
The Cronulla skipper retired from State of Origin after NSW’s win in game three on Wednesday and is yet to commit to the Sharks beyond this year.
Gallen has always said he would make a decision on his NRL future post-Origin and Flanagan believes he will play his 17th season of first grade in 2017, 50 years after the Sharks were founded in 1967.
“I am sure Gal will play next year,” Flanagan said on Sunday.
“I would love to see Gal turn up and play in the club’s 50th year next year.
“Hopefully we are playing in the last game of the year this year and going into our 50th year next year I think it would be great for Gal to go around again.”
However Gallen has previously indicated he may relinquish the captaincy, with Wade Graham the favourite to take over, with Michael Ennis another leadership possibility.
“We will discuss that in the off season, we have some quality leaders in Wade and Michael Ennis available and we will talk about that then,” Flanagan said.
Gallen went out a winner in his final Origin game, but the Blues suffered a 2-1 defeat in another draining series for the Blues skipper.
Flanagan revealed that despite Origin, Gallen doesn’t want to be rested at any time, as the ladder-leading Sharks mount a challenge for their maiden premiership.
“He is fit he is healthy and he has got no niggles,” Flanagan said.
“He is really looking forward to the rest of the season. This is probably new territory for Gal with us leading the competition. Everything has been going pretty well this season and he wants to lead us in those last eight weeks, he doesn’t want to miss a game.”