Cronulla's concern is defence, not Hynes' return date

Nicho Hynes hopes to return for Cronulla's round-two NRL clash with Parramatta but it's defensive starch not attacking polish that Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon craves most.

It's hard to know how much the Sharks missed the 2022 Dally M Medallist in Saturday night's 27-18 loss to South Sydney because his replacement halfback was so impressive.

Fitzgibbon rightfully branded Braydon Trindall outstanding after the back-up No.7 did his level best to help the Sharks home in Hynes' absence.

As well as guiding the Sharks around, Trindall bagged a classy try with three soccer-like kicks and a composed grounding, also put Sione Katoa over only to have his pass controversially ruled forward, conjured a lovely 40-20 and slotted three conversions from as many attempts.

"He's done that before for us, Tricky, and I'm really pleased that he took the opportunity and stood up to that," Fitzgibbon said.

"He's got a bit about him, Tricky. He's got some good chemistry with the players inside and outside of him. He feels comfortable.

"I thought he was strong tonight. His kicking was really good."

Hynes responded, "I hope so" when asked if he'd be playing Parramatta at Commbank Stadium on Friday night after missing Cronulla's season opener with a calf injury.

But with Trindall proving a worthy deputy, Fitzgibbon won't be rushing his trump card back prematurely, saying only that "it's a possibility" Hynes will face the Eels.

"We don't know at this stage. It's just a week to week thing," he said.

"It's not a big injury but it's a difficult position for us to throw him back out there willy-nilly and have something linger and hangs around for ages.

"We've got to get it right."

Of more immediate concern is getting his team's defence right after the Sharks conceded four tries against Souths, all on the left edge that isn't usually the Rabbitohs' strongest attacking side.

"We've got to go back to the drawing board. We know how we want to defend but we didn't get it done in the second half so we need to go back and have a look at that," Fitzgibbon said.

"It's not where we need to be. We need to improve that.

"There was a little bit of a disconnect there at some times. The high-end edge defence wasn't good enough.

"So that will be something to work on for us, for sure, and after we had a whole heap of pressure against us we were obviously bouncing off too many tackles there in the end of that second half."