Sharks hit man ready to go around again

Off-contract Cronulla prop Sam Tagataese is adamant he’ll play on next NRL season, he’s just not sure wearing what colours.

The 29-year-old is admittedly in a nervous position without a contract for 2017 and with just two weeks to run in the season.

Having lived a journeyman’s existence in the early years of his career, following stints at Melbourne and Gold Coast, he has made a home for himself in The Shire since arriving midway through 2011.

While he started just two games this year, he has made a strong contribution to their run to within one game of a grand final.

The 155-game veteran was adamant he still had plenty of football left in him and while he wanted to remain under coach Shane Flanagan, he wasn’t sure where he would ply his trade next year.

“I’m still in negotiations with the club and other clubs as well,” Tagataese said.

“I know it’s coming close to the year and it’s pressure time.

“I’m definitely confident of getting another deal, it’s a matter of where.”

Tagataese looks set to return from a five-week lay off due to a broken shoulder blade in Friday’s preliminary final against premiers North Queensland.

He was sidelined after being crunched by Canberra hit man Joseph Tapine in round 22 and has begun contact work in a bid to prove his fitness.

He has been working around the clock, treating the shoulder at home and undergoing hydrotherapy in a bid to recover and maintain strength.

“I feel like I’m ready, these big games don’t come around very often,” Tagataese said.

“I’m confident but first I have to prove it to these guys – I don’t want to be a liability to the team.”

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