Connor Tracey is looming as a shock contender to fill Cronulla’s No.1 NRL jersey after training at fullback in the pre-season.
Tracey has not played at the back since his early teens, but the play-making utility has impressed there alongside Will Kennedy this summer.
The Sharks will have an opening for at least the first eight rounds, with Shaun Johnson injured and Matt Moylan playing in the halves.
But Tracey want to make the role his long-term, with a gap likely to open up depending on Moylan’s future at the club.
“I have wanted to do it the past few years, but you have to get a full pre-season in if you want to switch positions,” Tracey told AAP.
“I came to Bomber (coach John Morris) before pre-season and he said he was already planning on putting me there in the pre-season.
“I really do see myself there in the future.
“It suits my abilities the best, probably better than five-eighth. I am really looking to get a career out of fullback.”
Tracey played 16 games last year, but the majority of those came as a utility off the bench.
He last played fullback 10 years ago as a 14-year-old before shifting to the halves when playing under-16s Harold Matthews Cup for Cronulla in 2012.
His chances to push for the spot are limited, with players who only played more than 12 NRL games last year restricted to just one trial match in 2021.
Tracey has however been regularly tested under the high ball at training, with the Sharks running opposed sessions each Friday during the pre-season.
Kennedy started at the back in 17 games last year, scoring just three tries but setting up 12.
However Tracey believed the faster gameplay in 2021 due to the expanded six-again rule would suit him at the back.
“The faster the game for me, the better,” Tracey said.
“I want them to speed it up as much as they can. Small guys it really suits and I am quite fit, so it works in my favour.”