Matt Prior set to leave Sharks for England

Darren Walton
Matt Prior is set to move to the English Super League to ease salary cap pressure at Cronulla

Cronulla's salary cap concerns continue to ease with dual premiership winner Matt Prior set to join the exodus of talent for the 2020 NRL season.

The Sharks on Wednesday confirmed Prior's departure to the English Super League was "in the works" after reports emerged that the 2018 NSW State of Origin prop had signed a three-year deal with Leeds.

Coach John Morris and football manager Phil Moss have yet to formally sign off on the move, but Prior's impending release follows Monday's announcement that utility Kurt Capewell was joining Penrith.

The Sharks have also let hooker Jayden Braily go to Newcastle and classy young half Kyle Flanagan to the Sydney Roosters.

While Prior's expected defection is more welcome cap relief for the Sharks, it could also pave the way for his 2010 St George Illawarra grand final-winning teammate Trent Merrin to rejoin the Dragons.

With a like-for-like replacement, Leeds can release Merrin to St George Illawarra if and when the Dragons clear Luciano Leilua to link with Wests Tigers.

The Tigers, also still in the running for Latrell Mitchell's signature, are hopeful of nabbing Leilua as the player merry-go-round continues to spin.

The Sharks, meanwhile, are also hoping to unearth the next Semi Radradra or Maiko Sivo after entering into a partnership to provide a direct pathway to the NRL for young Fijian players.

The alliance is between the Sharks and the Kaiviti Silktails, the recently launched team which has been accepted into the NSWRL's Massey Cup competition in 2020.

The agreement will see the Sharks become the Silktails' NRL partner club for the next three years.

The pathway affords Fijian players the opportunity progress from their local Vodafone Cup competition to the Silktails and the NSWRL Massey Cup, then potentially to the Canterbury Cup and the NRL.

"Obviously it's exciting for a few reasons," Sharks captain Wade Graham told AAP on Wednesday.

"To see how great some of the individuals are that come out of Fiji. In recent times, we've had Sivo, Semi and (Silktails ambassador) Petero (Civoniceva).

"So there's no doubt the talent's over there.

"But, just in general, (there's) an opportunity as a club to be part of something that grows the game. We all love the NRL and rugby league and we want to see it thrive."