Cronulla ride in to their home ground on a high to come up against the struggling Titans on Saturday night in a clash where the Gold Coast boys welcome some of their injured stars back.
LAST TIME OUT
Cronulla kept out a second opponent in a row at the foot of the mountain, disposing of the Panthers in something of a blowout, 28-2. Wade Graham, who’s staked a claim for Origin selection, led from the front as Cronulla’s forwards demolished the Penrith pack. A lot of their success can be attributed to keeping the same side on the park week in week out more or less, a luxury the Titans have struggled to obtain over the past few weeks.
Speaking of the Titans, they fell in a heartbreaker to the Broncos after Matt Gillett charged down a rather poorly executed Kane Elgey kick, giving it to James Roberts who finished a hat trick stylishly to take a match winning lead, 24-22. This lack of any real luck has characterised life on the Sunshine Strip lately, though there is some respite with captain Kevin Proctor and Jarryd Hayne named on an extended bench to possibly return.
Jayden Brailey has impressed for Cronulla in his very first year in the top grade, and he comes up against the man many have endorsed for NSW selection in Nathan Peats. The hooker for the Titans has struggled with injuries during his stint in the GC and is still looking to get some consistent time on the park. Maybe Brailey can learn a thing or two from watching Peats out on the park and put it in to his game – because if the Blues picked players on their form and not their name he’d be in the conversation.
Valentine Holmes and Tyrone Roberts were not their sides’ starting fullbacks before this year but both have impressed in their opportunities so far. Holmes excelled in the defensive coverage at the back against Penrith, an area where some thought he might struggle. Roberts’ attack from the back has been impeccable and did everything in his power to topple Brisbane on Friday only to get let down by teammate error. The fortunes of the fullbacks could come in very important during the game.
As brave as the Titans have been it’s hard to see anything other than a strong Cronulla victory down in the Shire in front of their faithful. The GC have fight, they just aren’t polished enough with their high player turnover in the past few weeks and haven’t been able to get a squad together consistently to gel. The Sharks by 14.
Sharks: 1. Valentine Holmes 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Jack Bird 4. Ricky Leutele 5. Kurt Capewell 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. Joseph Paulo 18. Tony Williams 19. Sam Tagataese 20. Edrick Lee 21. Fa’amanu Brown
Titans: 1. Tyrone Roberts 2. Anthony Don 3. Dale Copley 4. Dan Sarginson 5. Tyrone Roberts-Davis 6. Kane Elgey 7. Ashley Taylor 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Nathan Peats 10. Ryan James 11. Chris McQueen 12. Chris Grevsmuhl 13. Ryan Simpkins 14. Karl Lawton 15. Joe Greenwood 16. Paterika Vaivai 17. Leivaha Pulu 18. Jarryd Hayne 19. Kevin Proctor 20. Konrad Hurrell 21. Morgan Boyle