Morris' future didn't impact Talakai deal

·2-min read

Rising Cronulla star Siosifa Talakai says uncertainty over John Morris' coaching future had no impact on his decision to become the first Shark to re-sign this year.

Cronulla formally announced Talakai's new two-year deal last week, just days after Morris was axed in favour of Craig Fitzgibbon for next season.

The backrower's deal was finalised the week before with a cloud still hanging over Morris' head after months of speculation over his future.

Talakai's signature bodes well for the Sharks, where there had been concerns over how Morris' exit would impact younger players' decisions.

He is the first of 15 off-contract players to re-sign this year, with Toby Rudolf and Connor Tracey's deals also up at the end of this season.

Marquee half Shaun Johnson is also off contract and has stated he wanted to play at Cronulla under Morris in 2022, while Chad Townsend must also decide if he will activate another year.

But regardless, Talakai said the coaching uncertainty had not been a concern for him.

"It never never really crossed my mind," Talakai told AAP.

"The background noise was always there, there's just more security for myself and my family really. I always wanted to stay here.

"We've been working on it last year and earlier in the year. It was good to get it done.

"I didn't let the outside noise impact what the decision was going to be. I was always going to stay."

Unlike Blayke Brailey, Will Kennedy, Briton Nikora and nephew Teig Wilton, Talakai did not come through the Sharks' under-20s system under Morris.

But he does credit both he and Cronulla for putting his career back on track after the former South Sydney back signed with the Sharks on a train-and-trial deal last year.

"It's given me a second chance at doing what I love to do," Talakai said.

"I just wanted to get on the field and play the best footy I can for them.

"I'm very grateful for the opportunity they gave me. I just want to win a premiership in the next few years."

It comes as the Sharks confirmed Will Chambers' arrival on a deal for the rest of this season, with the former Kangaroos star getting through his first training session on Monday.

Chambers has not played in the NRL since leaving Melbourne at the end of 2019, signing to play in Japanese rugby before COVID-19 interrupted.

The former Queensland and Kangaroos centre was an arch-nemesis of the Sharks during his time at the Storm, but has since cleared the air with the likes of Paul Gallen.

"It's a bit different, it's all a bit new at the moment, I'm taking it all in, getting to know the boys," Chambers said.