Sharks go back to where they started with Holmes at No. 1

After two months of chopping and changing his spine, Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan is back to where he started ahead of Saturday's clash with Parramatta where both sides will chase a third-straight win.

Josh Dugan's broken foot, suffered in last weekend's nail-biting triumph over Gold Coast, means Valentine Holmes will be shuffled from the wing back to fullback. Matt Moylan will remain at number six.

Back at the back: Valentine Holmes will be in the No. 1 jersey for the Sharks this weekend.

That was how Flanagan's side lined up in round one against the Cowboys with ever-presents Jayden Brailey and Chad Townsend at hooker and halfback respectively rounding out the key positions, as they've done all season.

While Brailey and Townsend have been constants in 2018, Flanagan has deployed five different configurations of his fullback and five-eighth over the first eight rounds.

"Everyone's in and out in pre-season, so I've kind of got the gist of how everyone plays, but nothing really changes a whole lot for me," Brailey said.

"I've just got to look up and count numbers whichever way is the way to go and whoever's calling our super call, the ball's got to go their way.

"It hasn't affected me too much, I think it's more out wide. The last couple of weeks we've been playing some good football, it's all about keeping that up."

Holmes has made no secret of the fact he wants to be Cronulla's No.1. The Sharks have won three of four games with Dugan at fullback this year and one of two with Holmes in the role.

Dugan is about 12kg heavier than Holmes, but Brailey said Cronulla would lose nothing with the Kangaroos' try-scoring machine shuffling to the back.

"Dugan's just probably that bigger body where people don't want to run at him in the line because he looks like another big bloke in the defensive line but in saying that Val's still just as strong, Val's more elusive, you can't get hold of him," Brailey said.

"He just brings that speed at the back and I thought last week he had his best game of the year in his yardage carries. I'm not too worried with him being at the back, he played there all last year and he's going to add something different I guess to our side this week."

Cronulla is set to welcome back Wade Graham this weekend from a hamstring injury, and he will captain the side with Paul Gallen and Luke Lewis still unavailable.

Front-rower Andrew Fifita has taken on leadership duties in the absence of his more experienced teammates, and Brailey said the fearsome Tongan international had done a superb job alongside halfback Townsend.

"Chad and Fifita have been leading our pack, Fifita with our forwards and Chad on our edges," Brailey said.

"The biggest thing over the last two weeks that I've noticed is probably just our positive attitude and our energy when we play football.

"In that first month of footy when something went against us, whether it was the penalty count or an error, our heads might drop, but the last two weeks we've made a conscious effort of trying to stay positive and making the best out of the situation, whatever it may be."

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