Young gun’s huge task in another Sharks shake-up

Jesse Ramien is set to make his second NRL start against the Eels.
Jesse Ramien is set to make his second NRL start against the Eels.

HE'S the highly-rated 20-year-old bound for Newcastle next year but now Jesse Ramien has the chance to show Cronulla what they're losing when he becomes the Sharks' third right centre in three games.

With just one NRL game under his belt, Ramien has been given the huge assignment of shutting down star Parramatta three-quarter Michael Jennings in a clash between two sides that have so far failed to match lofty expectations in 2018.

With new faces Matt Moylan and Josh Dugan slotting into Cronulla's backline this season Flanagan has yet to find a winning formula and has already thrown Plan A on the scrapheap after a poor Round 1 performance from Valentine Holmes saw him dumped as fullback.

Josh Dugan returns in the centres for the Sharks
Josh Dugan returns in the centres for the Sharks

That forced a rethink in the right centre role earmarked for Josh Dugan, with the controversial NSW star reverting to his favoured fullback spot as Holmes was relegated to the wing.

Emerging winger Sione Katoa's Round 1 injury allowed a smooth transition for Holmes but it effectively moved a selection headache from the wing to the centres, where Aaron Gray failed to impress against the Dragons.

So coach Shane Flanagan has rolled the dice again, giving Ramien a shot at nailing down a first-grade spot before he takes off bound for the Hunter at the end of the season.

Ramien's decision to join the Knights from 2019 is understood to have disappointed Flanagan who had hoped to re-sign the youngster.

Ironically it was former Sharks football manager Darren Mooney who pulled off the signing coup.

"Jesse is an imposing centre, with size and speed and will be a great addition to our outside backs when he joins us next season," Mooney told the Knights website last month.

Valentine Holmes has had a poor start to the season.
Valentine Holmes has had a poor start to the season.

"Our squad is a great mix of youth and experience; a player like Jesse will not only add further depth, but he will join us a long-term centre option."

His opposite number on Saturday Jennings has had a quiet start to the season and has not registered a try or try assist in the opening two rounds.

Coming off a 54-0 embarrassment at the hands of Manly on Sunday, Jennings will be keen to stand up and send a message, giving Ramien a massive task in his second NRL game.

Topics:  cronulla sharks jesse ramien michael jennings nrl 2018 parramatta eels rugby league

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