SHARKS playmaker Todd Carney has spent months this pre-season on altitude training and constant sprint work.
And it appears to have paid off, with the five-eighth set to return from a torn Achilles tendon for round one of the NRL season against the Titans on March 10 at Shark Stadium.
Cronulla officials will not rush him back for the team's final trial against the Knights in Tamworth this Saturday night.
But a club spokesman said captain Paul Gallen (quad) and Luke Lewis (stomach muscle) would play against Newcastle.
"Barring new injuries from training or the trials, all players on our roster should be fit for round one," he added.
Carney tore his Achilles tendon in his side's finals loss to Canberra last September.
Meanwhile, Penrith released Arana Taumata yesterday, a day after signing former Roosters second-rower Anthony Cherrington for two years.
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