Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan has revealed the NRL club is yet to enter discussions with off-contract veterans Paul Gallen and Luke Lewis because neither knows if they’re playing on next year.
Gallen, 34, has already announced this year’s State of Origin series will be his last, however he has not decided whether he will continue on for the Sharks for one more season.
“Gal doesn’t even know if he wants to play again next year,” Flanagan said on Friday.
The NSW captain has focused his energy on coming back from a knee injury, as well as one final campaign for the Blues, which begins on June 1.
“Once Origin’s finished – which is eight weeks away, maybe more – we’ll sit down, see where Gal’s head’s at, see where his body’s at and make a decision then.”
The Sharks’ skipper is also eyeing off winning back his Kangaroos jumper, having not pulled on the green and gold since the mid-year Test in 2014 due to his ban over the Cronulla supplements saga.
He also missed last year’s annual Anzac fixture due to injury, however Flanagan said he was impressed with Gallen’s output since returning two weeks ago from a knee problem.
“The last couple of weeks, I thought Gal’s been outstanding,” he said.
“He’s simplified his game. He’s running metres are outstanding. I’ve been giving him a spell but he can play 80 minutes if he has to, so that’s a massive bonus for any team.
“His defence has been outstanding and he set up a try on the weekend so Gal’s back to his best.”
Gallen is one of a number of Sharks to come off the books at the end of the season, joining first-team regulars Lewis, Jayson Bukuya, Michael Ennis, Chris Heighington and Sam Tagataese as free agents.
Lewis returns from a week’s suspension on Sunday to take on former club Penrith.
“Luke’s doing a good job,” Flanagan said.
“It’s only round eight, Luke’s got to make sure he’s playing good footy and he wants to play again next year. At this stage, he’s undecided.
“He probably wants to go around again but all those things will sort themselves out.”