Cronulla coach John Morris has confirmed he named Wade Graham at five-eighth with the view of playing him in the halves in the finals.
Graham will line up in the No.6 jumper for Saturday’s clash against Canberra after Shaun Johnson suffered a season-ending Achilles rupture.
Johnson is expected to be sidelined for six months, prompting the Sharks to name Graham at five-eighth given his experience.
Morris is confident his captain will excel in the No.6 jumper given he has played the position in Origin.
“I’m confident that Wade can do a good job there, and I wanted to have a look at it,” Morris said.
“He has played over 60 games in his career there, which is over 25 per cent of his total games.
“He has played State of Origin there recently. I just felt with the loss of Shaun (Johnson) and the experience he brings in the halves, I think Wade can really help us steady the ship and keep us on track.
“He has got an outstanding skillset, and the skills aren’t going to be an issue for him.
“I just felt that if we didn’t have a look at it now, we would never know.
“If he does a good job of it, we get Chad Townsend back for week one of the finals, and it could be Townsend and Graham combination.
“We’ve also got options there with Connor Tracey, so we’ll see what happens.”
Morris believes Graham is perfectly suited to the five-eighth position given he weighs in at 96 kilos.
“Wade is a unique type of player,” he said.
“He is a big body, so he can take the line on and break tackles.
“He also has a beautiful passing game and a really good left-foot kick.
“He has got all the makings of a quality playmaker.
“It is also his experience in there directing the team around, especially in the absence of Shaun.”
Cronulla host Canberra on Saturday, and depending on results, they could also meet the Raiders in the first week of the finals.
The Green Machine will rest nine players for the clash, but Morris isn’t worried.
The Sharks have also rested Josh Dugan and Sione Katoa after they suffered injury setbacks.
“Obviously, sides are getting ready for a finals series,” he said.
“Every team has got their own unique set of circumstances, so I suppose you can’t read into it too much.
“We’ve also got a number of players out ourselves, so the focus is just on what we need to get out of the game.
“For us, it is about getting some momentum heading into the finals.”