Sharks back call to fight Graham's NRL charge
Cronulla coach Craig Fitzgibbon says he doesn't regret the club's decision to contest Wade Graham's reckless high tackle charge at the NRL judiciary.
Instead of taking a three-game ban, the decision to fight the charge led to the Sharks co-captain copping an extra week's suspension.
The 32-year-old, who collared Souths prop Davvy Moale, will sit out the first of four games in Friday's trip to face Parramatta.
Fitzgibbon was hopeful that Graham's hit would become a precedent for the 2023 season.
"You'd like to think so," he said. "But it has changed a few times before.
"I can't control that, it's important we park it and move on."
Fitzgibbon maintains Graham's actions weren't reckless, and fell into the category of being careless.
"We weren't trying to absolve Wade of any responsibility in what could have been a careless tackle," the Sharks coach said.
"There were basically zero reckless (graded) tackles in the entirety of last season and to say that (Graham's) was the worst... we thought we had a good chance to disagree with that.
"We felt like we had a fair and just fight."
Without Graham, Fitzgibbon has brought Royce Hunt back on to the interchange bench as the Sharks search for their first win of the 2023 NRL campaign against Parramatta.
In his debut season as Sharks head coach last season, Fitzgibbon moulded the club in his image with their no-nonsense defensive approach landing them a second-placed finish.
But after conceding heavily in last season's finals losses - and in last week's season opener against South Sydney where they missed 44 tackles - Fitzgibbon is hoping they can turn a corner.
"We were pretty strong in the first half against a quality opponent and then we sort of left in the sheds a little bit," he said.
"We want to make sure we are hard at it for the full 80 minutes.
"You want to see your style of play and the way you prepare.
"I think you've got to separate last year from this year.
"We missed a couple of decisions, so we know what we've got to be ready for."
The Sharks coach will continue with Braydon Trindall in the halves as reigning Dally M medallist Nicho Hynes battles a recurring calf issue.
"He (Hynes) is back running," Fitzgibbon revealed. "We'll have a shot at it next week but whether we get there I'm not sure."