Canberra Raiders back-up hooker Adam Clydsdale will join Edrick Lee at Cronulla for the rest of the season.
Clydsdale was named in the Raiders’ 21 to face North Queensland at Canberra Stadium on Saturday, but he was released from his contract on Friday and will join the Sharks at training on Monday.
With the Sharks suffering a hooker injury crisis – James Segeyaro (arm) and Jayden Brailey (jaw) are both unavailable – Clydsdale could come into the 17 for their round 19 clash against the Gold Coast following the bye.
Brailey is out for 6-8 weeks, while Segeyaro could be available to face the Titans.
It means 19-year-old Erin Clark is now the Raiders’ third No.9 behind Josh Hodgson and Kurt Baptiste.
Clydsdale played 17 NRL games for the Raiders since he joined the club from Newcastle ahead of the 2016 season.
He’ll drop out of the Green Machine’s 19 to face the Cowboys, which will see Dave Taylor play just his third game for the club.
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said the “Coal Train” was playing for his career and captain Jarrod Croker hoped he would be a “wrecking ball” against North Queensland.
Taylor adds plenty of size to Canberra’s bench and allows Stuart to bring on another big bopper when he gives Shannon Boyd or Junior Paulo a rest.
The 28-year-old has been hampered by injury and illness in his bid to resurrect his NRL career, and he comes off contract at the end of the season.
Paulo averages nearly 60 minutes a game, while Boyd’s about 40, so Croker was looking for Taylor to provide short, sharp bursts of power.
“It’s hard to get him massive minutes because we’ve got so many big boys playing big minutes,” Croker told Sky Sports Radio.
“I guess we’ll see Dave, he won’t play as many minutes, but we want those minutes to be powerful and full of energy and big carries.
“When he’s out there just tuck it under his wing and be a bit of a wrecking ball.
“It’s hard sometimes when you take Junior and Boydy off … if we’ve got big Dave there he’s about the same size as the other two boys.”
Raiders fullback Jack Wighton was expecting Taylor to deliver on what his captain wanted.
“He brings a lot of size again. I can’t wait to see the big fella out there,” he said.
“He’s been waiting for his go and he’s been training hard so I think he’s going to have a massive impact for our team.”
NRL ROUND 17
Saturday: Canberra Raiders v North Queensland Cowboys at Canberra Stadium, 7.30pm. Tickets available from Ticketek.
Raiders squad: 1. Jack Wighton 2. Nick Cotric 3. Jarrod Croker (C) 4. Joey Leilua 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Blake Austin 7. Aidan Sezer 8. Junior Paulo 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Shannon Boyd 11. Josh Papalii 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Sia Soliola. Interchange: 14. Kurt Baptiste 15. Luke Bateman 16. Dave Taylor 17. Joe Tapine. Reserves: 18. Scott Sorensen 19. Royce Hunt 21. Clay Priest.
Cowboys squad: 1. Lachlan Coote 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Kane Linnett 5. Antonio Winterstein 6. Te Maire Martin 7. Michael Morgan 8. John Asiata 9. Jake Granville 10. Scott Bolton 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Ethan Lowe 13. Jason Taumalolo. Interchange: 14. Ben Hampton 15. Coen Hess 16. Shaun Fensom 17. Corey Jensen. Reserves: 18. Kyle Laybutt 19. Kalyn Ponga 20. Braden Uele 21. Patrick Mago.