Both of these sides have had an inconsistent start to the 2017 season. The defending premiers are two wins from four starts; while last season’s wooden spooners have won just one game out of four played.

LAST TIME OUT

The Cronulla Sharks were impressive in their last outing against the Parramatta Eels, running out 20-6 winners at ANZ Stadium. The Eels made it too easy for the Sharks, as they coughed up possession countless times, and looked rushed with the ball in hand. The Knights brought shades of their poor 2016 form in their last start against the Panthers, as they were hammered 40-0 at Pepper Stadium. A positive for the Knights is they showed plenty of heart even towards the end, and will need plenty more for this clash against Cronulla.

KEY BATTLE

It’s a battle between the old bull and the young gun that catches my eye in this game. Cronulla great Paul Gallen will line up yet again for the Sharks at lock, while young star Mitch Barnett will take the number 13 jersey for the Knights. Gallen has proven time and time again how good he is going forward for the Sharks, and we are getting glimpses of how hard working and talented Barnett really is. It’s a one on one battle that could decide the outcome of this game.

PREDICTION

I’m not usually the superstitious type, but the Sharks have had a tenancy this season so far to play well one week and not so well the next. Going loss, win, loss, win to start the year. The omen may be with Newcastle, but against a full strength Sharks outfit down at Southern Cross Group Stadium, Cronulla will be too strong. – Sharks by 22

 

SQUADS

 

Sharks: 1. Valentine Holmes 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Jack Bird 4. Ricky Leutele 5. Gerard Beale 6. James Maloney 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Matt Prior 11. Luke Lewis 12. Wade Graham 13. Paul Gallen 14. Jayson Bukuya 15. Chris Heighington 16. Jeremy Latimore 17. James Segeyaro 18. Joseph Paulo 19. Kurt Capewell 20. Edrick Lee 21. Sam Tagataese

 

Knights: 1. Brendan Elliott 2. Ken Sio 3. Dane Gagai 4. Peter Mata’utia 5. Nathan Ross 6. Brock Lamb 7. Trent Hodkinson 8. Daniel Saifiti 9. Danny Levi 10. Josh Starling 11. Sione Mata’utia 12. Jamie Buhrer 13. Mitchell Barnett 14. Luke Yates 15. Jack Stockwell 16. Sam Stone 17. Jacob Saifiti 18. Jaelen Feeney 19. Joe Wardle 20. Jacob Gagan 21. Anthony Tupou