Sharks to play Tracey at fullback for elimination final

Connor Tracey is set to play fullback in Cronulla's elimination final against the Sydney Roosters after recovering from a knee issue, with usual custodian Will Kennedy still not back to full fitness.

Tracey limped from the field in round 27 but the Sharks' injury crisis appeared to morph into a selection headache when both Tracey and Kennedy were named in the extended squad for Saturday.

Scans cleared Tracey of any damage to his knee, pointing instead to jarred ligaments.

"Connor's looking like he's good to go," said Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon. 

Kennedy, though, has been the Sharks' first-choice fullback for four seasons and would have been tough to overlook had he recovered from the hamstring injury suffered in round 22.

Kennedy completed roughly half of the Sharks' biggest training session of the week on Wednesday but would only have been parachuted into the side had Tracey failed to recover.

"Will hasn't trained much at all in six weeks," Fitzgibbon said.

"If something was to happen to Connor there and we couldn't get him up, we might've had to roll the dice and taken a risk on Will.

"But to say that his preparation was ready for that was going to take a huge effort from Will and a big risk. We thought we'd offer that just in case Connor didn't get up but Connor's looking good."

Deputising for Kennedy, Tracey has been instrumental for the Sharks on the resurgence that helped them lock up a sixth-placed finish.

"His style of play is very combative, he gets after the game, he's tough, carries the ball strongly. Defensively he's been really good," Fitzgibbon said.

The Sharks defeated Canberra last week to earn hosting rights for Saturday but the NRL has copped backlash for permitting the match to go ahead at a reduced-capacity Shark Park.

Only 13,500 fans can fit inside the ground, as opposed to 42,500 at Allianz Stadium in Moore Park.

Thousands of spectators are set to be locked out but Fitzgibbon applauded the NRL for not relenting to the criticism.

"If we weren't playing for a home semi last week, I would've rested a host of players," he said.

"If we knew that that was going to be changed, that would've altered the back end of the season for us.

"I can also appreciate why fans might be disappointed in the size of the stadium. But at the moment, it's a policy and it's not a question for us. We just follow it and so does everyone else."

The Sharks finished second on the ladder last season but made an early exit from finals after back-to-back losses. They are vying to right the wrongs against the Roosters.

"It's a different season, different circumstances," Fitzgibbon said.

"Whatever I offer up as to what happened last year sound like excuses.

"We're trying to focus on what we can do better. There's definitely some lessons learned from it."

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