Luke Lewis says he’s confident Cronulla have the squad to win their first NRL premiership after joining the club on a four-year deal.
Test and NSW Origin back-rower Lewis was keenly sought by numerous clubs after controversially parting ways last week with Penrith, the club where he started as a junior and debuted in the NRL back in 2001.
Announcing his new deal on Friday, Lewis said the chance to play alongside good friends Paul Gallen and Wade Graham at the Sharks won him over.
Cronulla are stocked with some of the best back-rowers in the competition and coach Shane Flanagan said Lewis’ signing didn’t necessarily mean New Zealand forward Jeremy Smith would leave the club.
Lewis described the last few weeks where he decided to split from the Panthers as ‘‘traumatic’’ and was looking forward to a bright future with his new club from next season.
‘‘I feel like the Sharks are best suited to me personally and professionally. They’re moving in the right direction and I can’t wait to be involved,’’ said 28-year-old Lewis.
‘‘It’s been a traumatic few weeks and I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me.
‘‘I definitely believe the Sharks have the players and coaching staff (to win a competition) ... and I’d love nothing more than to be part of the club’s first premiership.’’
Lewis said fellow Panthers junior Wade Graham was part of his bridal party and he couldn’t wait to play with Blues teammates Gallen and Todd Carney.
He said the support given to him by coach Shane Flanagan and football manager Darren Mooney helped him to decide to go with the Sharks.
Lewis said he would give his all for Penrith in the final rounds of 2012.
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