Sharks sweating on trio for Panthers clash

Steve Zemek

Key Cronulla trio Wade Graham, Luke Lewis and Andrew Fifita are all chances to line up for Sunday's crunch NRL clash with Penrith.

Coach Shane Flanagan said on Friday that Graham (hamstring), Fifita (knee) and Lewis (corked knee) were all chances to line up at Southern Cross Group Stadium.

The inclusion of the three representative forwards would be a massive fillip for the Sharks with Paul Gallen (medial ligament) out.

All seemed long odds to take on the in-form Panthers after they failed to finish last week's 40-20 defeat to the Dragons, however, a decision will be made on their fitness following Saturday's captain's run.

"They're all working really hard with the physios and the medical team," Flanagan said.

"We've put a lot of work in this week, late nights, trying to get them ready for this game and we're lucky it's a long turnaround.

"They all could be right or they all could be out."

Lewis seems the most likely with Flanagan quipping: "The last person to miss a game for a cork was me."

Fifita appeared set for a long stint on the sidelines after it was initially feared he had suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

But subsequent scans cleared him of damage and Flanagan said there was no fear he could exacerbate the injury if he plays on Sunday.

"Andrew came off and he was taking some advice from medical staff and they were erring on the side of caution," Flanagan said.

"We got good news last week that he hadn't strained or torn his ACL. He's done some other damage in there and he's given himself every hope this week to play, he's worked really hard."

Should Graham, Lewis and Fifita all be forced to sit on the sidelines along with Gallen, the Sharks will be missing a combined 997 games worth of experience.

"We've spoken about how a couple years ago we went out to Penrith, we had four or five players out for Origin and they had none out, we went out and won in a similar situation," Flanagan said.

"Here on Sunday, whoever trots out is going to wear that jersey and work really hard and we expect to win."