Flanagan reveals Sharks' long-term fullback solution

Matt Encarnacion

Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan has revealed his latest plan for the NRL club's contentious fullback spot, saying he envisions Josh Dugan and Valentine Holmes sharing the role in the future.

Injuries and fluctuations in form have forced Flanagan to juggle his No.1 jumper between star trio Dugan, Holmes and Matt Moylan for the opening 11 games of the season.

Dugan made a successful return from injury in last Sunday's win over Canterbury - their fifth straight victory - playing an hour at fullback before switching with Holmes.

Flanagan has designs on the timeshare being equal in the long term.

"I'd like to get to the point that we can mix them up a fair bit and they can play 50-50 there," Flanagan said on Fox Sports' NRL 360 on Monday.

"Probably 20 minutes of the game on the weekend, Val would've played at fullback and a real crucial part of the game, Val came in and played in the middle part of the field and we nearly scored a try off it."

He believes the rare game plan would prove to be a tactical advantage over opposition teams.

"You plan all week to look at Josh Dugan's tendencies to how he brings the ball back. Has he got a favourite side to run? Is he poor at coming out of one corner?" he said.

"And then all of a sudden you kick the ball back there and Valentine Holmes is picking the ball up and coming back at 100 miles an hour and prefers to run to the other side of the field.

"It definitely helps and mixes it up, especially for the opposition."

Flanagan admitted Holmes had initially struggled with the extra scrutiny over his performances in the No.1 jumper, but said the Kangaroos winger had returned to form in recent weeks.

He is likely to continue starting on the wing for the near future.

"He's back playing his best at the moment. Val's going to be a very good fullback, but he's a really good winger at the moment. As long as he's in our team, we're a chance of winning," Flanagan said.