Macdonald joins Sharks for NRL chance

Pamela Whaley
Nene Macdonald (with the ball) is set to resurrect his NRL career with the Cronulla Sharks

Cronulla coach John Morris is hopeful Nene Macdonald will join the team next week to begin final preparations for his NRL comeback.

Morris said Macdonald is in good physical condition after being released from the Cowboys almost a year ago following a traffic incident on Magnetic Island.

The former Papua New Guinea representative winger has not played NRL since April last year when he suffered a serious ankle injury playing for the Cowboys.

His life then spiralled out of control and he walked away from the game, but has since been training to get a second chance at an NRL career.

On Saturday Morris confirmed Macdonald will join the Sharks and will need between three and four weeks of training to build up his match fitness before he plays a game.

"He's in pretty good shape and that's the reason we chose to add him to our squad," Morris said.

"We did a lot of screening on him. His body is in pretty good nick, he's not far off his body weight where he was at the Dragons.

"He did have an ankle injury there, as well as at the Cowboys, but he's fully recovered from that.

"He's back doing full training, he's not restricted in any way.

"We've just got to get him back to that NRL style of preparation and intensity with his training over the next couple of weeks."

The addition of Macdonald will help bolster the Sharks' backline after losing Josh Morris, Bronson Xerri and now Ronaldo Mulitalo to a knee injury.

Morris said Mulitalo has undergone arthroscopic surgery on his knee and is looking at missing four weeks, further depleting their stocks.

In another blow, forward and 2016 premiership winner Jayson Bukuya announced his retirement on Saturday, after not playing since last September.

"With Ronaldo, we're down three NRL outside backs straight away so we're pretty thin there," Morris said.

"Nene has shown some really good signs over the last few months and (is) getting his life back in order. He's training really hard and he's in really good nick.

"He's coming down for a second shot at it.

"We all know the talent that he was and he'll bring much-needed experience as well as a different body shape to what we've got at the moment.

"We look forward to getting him up to match fitness over the next few weeks."

Meanwhile, Morris denied the club is a chance of signing Matt Eisenhuth from the Wests Tigers, but admitted the player was spoken about at the start of the season when injuries had ravaged the Sharks pack.