Local junior Connor Tracey, currently at Souths where he made his NRL debut earlier this year, will return to the Cronulla club in 2020.
A former Australian Schoolboys representative, the 2018 NSWRL Intrust Super Premiership Five-Eighth of the Year and a member of the Canterbury Cup NSW Resident’s team in 2019, the 23-year-old Tracey has signed a two-year contract with the Sharks.
A De La Salle Caringbah junior, Tracey progressed through the Sharks academy and development pathway system, playing with the NYC team in 2014 and 2015, while training with the full-time NRL squad, before leaving for the Rabbitohs ahead of the 2016 season.
Unlucky to be struck down with a couple of serious injuries while coming through the grades, perseverance and talent has seen Tracey come out the other side, to where he is now an accomplished half-five eighth and one set to challenge for an NRL berth at the Sharks in the coming seasons.
“It was disappointing to see Connor go when he did, considering his talent and the work we put into his development as a junior player,” Sharks Coach John Morris said.
“But with him returning he will now have the opportunity to play alongside the likes of Blayke Brailey, Bronson Xerri, Billy Magoulias, other local juniors now in our NRL squad who have come through our development system and we look forward to having him back in Sharks colours.
“He has shown great character and resilience in rebounding from the setbacks he had a few years ago, is an exceptional trainer, a strong ball runner and there is plenty of upside and potential in Connor.
“Having already shown he is capable of playing in the NRL, Connor is someone who adds quality and depth to our halves,” Morris added.
Off the field Tracey is completing a degree at the University of Wollongong and will graduate with a Batchelor of Accounting and Financial Services at the end of the year.
A standout for the Rabbitohs NSWRL feeder club the North Sydney Bears last year and equally dynamic in the Canterbury Cup in 2019, with the Rabbitohs sitting on top of the competition ladder, Tracey impressed incoming Souths coach Wayne Bennett with his ability and work ethic, his efforts rewarded with an NRL debut in a Round 12 match against Parramatta.
Despite the Rabbitohs going down to the Eels Tracey ran for 205 metres with 15 tackle breaks, in an impressive first-up performance.
He will join the Sharks later this year for the 2020 pre-season.
See above some video highlights of Tracey in action for Souths in both the NRL and the Canterbury Cup, with photo below from his time in the Sharks Under-20's Holden Cup team.