Josh Dugan appears on the verge of claiming Cronulla's No.1 jersey from Valentine Holmes, with coach Shane Flanagan revealing they will share the fullback role against St George Illawarra.
The Sharks' No.1 position has dominated the lead-up to Thursday night's local derby in Cronulla, after Holmes' unhappy night in their season-opening loss to North Queensland.
Sharks premiership winner Michael Ennis, the Johns brothers and NSW State of Origin coach Brad Fittler have all called for Holmes to return to wing where he made his name, with Dugan the preferred No.1 candidate having previously played there for the Blues.
And Flanagan revealed on Wednesday he'd changed the shape of the role heading into the game against Dugan's former club, with the pair both set to spend stints at the back.
"They'll share the role tomorrow," Flanagan said.
"I think it will work well. We did it in the trials so it's nothing new.
"Duges is a big body and we don't expect him to play 80 minutes at the level I want him to play tomorrow at fullback. There is a lot of work to be done there.
"It gives me the opportunity to flip him onto the centre and my centre onto the wing. We will go from there."
The tactics will be similar to those used during the Sharks' premiership charge in 2016, when Holmes intermittently spent time in the custodian role while Ben Barba was fullback.
Rookie Jesse Ramien or recruit Aaron Gray will spend time shifting between wing and centre, with Flanagan unsure which of the two will replace the injured Sione Katoa (jaw) in his 17.
Holmes, with a record 12 tries for the Kangaroos in last year's World Cup, has previously made clear his desire to play at fullback. Earlier this month, he told AAP he'd re-signed with the Sharks last year to play No.1.
But Flanagan insisted he was supportive of the move and said talk he only wanted to play fullback was overblown.
"It's something he wanted to try," Flanagan said.
"He's fine with (the move back). I think it's a bit of let the pressure off him the last couple of days and he doesn't have to do it all on his own."
The issue has done little to worry opposition coach Paul McGregor, who has had the luxury of having coached Dugan for the past three-and-a-half seasons at fullback.
"I think we're over-thinking Cronulla, to be honest," McGregor said.
"They're both similar players who like to run the ball a bit more."
Flanagan also confirmed co-captain Paul Gallen would return to the Sharks' starting side, having come off the bench last week after not playing any trials.
STATS THAT MATTER:
* Just one result separates the two teams in the derby, with Cronulla having won 20 and the Dragons 19
* Cronulla won 11 from 11 last year when scoring more than 19 points
* The Dragons last week gave away the least metres of all teams