Edrick Lee has signed for Cronulla for the 2017 NRL season.
Edrick Lee has signed for Cronulla for the 2017 NRL season. DAVID ROWLAND

Sharks snap up Canberra winger Lee

RUGBY LEAGUE: Premier Cronulla has produced a last-minute buy prior to the opening round of the NRL season, signing Canberra Raiders winger Edrick Lee until the end of 2018.

A member of the Queensland Emerging Origin squad for the past two seasons and the tallest winger in the NRL, Lee, has been granted an immediate release by the Raiders to join the Sharks after putting pen to paper on Thursday morning.

Allowing the Green Machine to alleviate pressure on their salary cap, the departure of Lee, who was off-contract in 2017, will provide the Raiders with a clear path to retain the likes of the yet to be re-signed Jordan Rapana, Lachlan Croker, Zac Santo and Kato Ottio.

Just one week away from the round one clash with Brisbane at Shark Park, Lee, 24, is an important addition to the Cronulla backline depth, which is already under stress.

Having farewelled fullback Ben Barba to French Rugby Union, the Sharks have also been forced to prepare for round one without powerful winger Sosaia Feki (knee) and rising star Valentine Holmes (hamstring).

Such were his limited options in the backline ahead of last weekend's World Club Challenge, Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan chose debutant Jesse Raimen and backrower Kurt Capewell in each wing position against Wigan.

A hamstring injury stymied Lee's 2016 season, which had begun with much promise following his selection in the Indigenous All Stars side.

The 196cm tall Lee, who has scored 34 tries in 70 first-grade games, will commence training with the Sharks, in preparation for the Broncos, on Friday.