Cronulla is the perfect place for out-of-sorts former representative star Tony Williams to re-discover the form and desire that made him one of the NRL’s most feared forwards, according to Sharks skipper Paul Gallen.
Williams will join the premiers next year on a one-year deal after a largely underwhelming four seasons with Canterbury.
The 27-year-old Williams joined the Bulldogs in 2013 as a premiership winner and Australian forward but largely failed to deliver on his big-money move to Belmore.
The Sharks have thrown Williams a lifeline for next year and Gallen believes the 193cm, 120kg former wrecking ball can be a success.
“We all know how big and strong and powerful he can be and I think coming off the bench for us he can do that again,” Gallen said.
“The good thing is he won’t have to come to our club and play big minutes and he won’t have to do a lot of work. We have myself, Wade (Graham) and Luke Lewis who can do that.
“So he can come back and just play that powerful type of game.
“If he can get his head right and get some desire to really want to play well again there is no reason why he can’t get back to where he was two years ago.
“It was only a couple of years ago he was playing for Australia and he was one of the most devastating players in the competition. He just needs to want it a bit more.”
Gallen said the Sharks were also looking to shore up their hooking depth before the start of their premiership defence after the retirement of Michael Ennis.
Former Wests Tigers rake Manaia Cherrington has moved to the Sharks, while Jayden Brailey is considered one of the games most promising No.9s.
But Gallen said the Sharks could use some more experience in the dummy half role ahead of the 2017 season.
“While it would be a big ask for Jayden to play the whole year next year I certainly think he will play first grade,” Gallen said.
“For his size and his age he is one of the strongest kids I have seen in the gym and you watch him on the field and he has all the skills.”
Gallen nominated South Sydney’s Damien Cook and former Penrith star James Segeyaro, now with English club Leeds, as potentially good fits.