The Sharks and Roosters will do battle on Saturday night in a match between two top calibre teams that will have major implications on the makeup of the Top 4.

Last Time Out 

The Sharks travelled up to Townsville and put in a dominant 1st half display to record a 26-16 win. They posted four tries in the first 40 minutes to lead 24-6 at half-time. The Sharks went to sleep a little in the 2nd half. They couldn’t score more than a penalty goal against a Cowboys team that was down to no interchanges for the last 30 minutes of the game. Although in stating that, the Cowboys were incredibly resilient in defeat and deserve the credit for keeping them out.

The Roosters got out of jail against the Tigers to edge out a narrow 22-18 victory. They started the game on fire and looked set to rack up another avalanche of points on the Tigers. They led 16-0 after half an hour before the Tigers staged another impressive comeback to lead them 18-16 in the 2nd half. Only a late try to Latrell Mitchell saved the Roosters from a monumental collapse and embarrassing loss. It wasn’t the prettiest of wins but they got the job done in the end and took one step closer to confirming a Top 4 finish.

Key Battle

The colossal clash between the two teams forward packs. A key match-up in particular will be Jared Waerea-Hargreaves vs Andrew Fifita. These two players can build the foundations for their teams victory if they get the advantage early.  

Waerea-Hargreaves aggression can sometimes lead to moments of madness like his elbow to Lolohea last week. However the Roosters will be needing that aggression from him to run over the top of the Sharks pack and get them rolling down field. He’ll be going straight at the Sharks line all night, raised forearm and all.

Fifita had been in average form recently but bounced back with a big performance against the Cowboys. His offloads and ability to palm off any defender that comes his way makes him a game winner for his team. If he’s switched on and the Roosters can’t stop him, the Sharks will emerge the victors.

Prediction

This should be a high quality encounter with two teams that can match it with the Storm at their best. Whether they bring that to the field on game day remains to be seen as at their worst, both sides can be incredibly sloppy and ill-disciplined.

With the stakes set high, both teams should be looking to bring their best. The Roosters can book a guaranteed Top 4 finish if they win, thanks to the Eels victory over Brisbane, while the Sharks need to win if they’re to stay in contention with the Broncos and Eels to grab a second chance at the finals.

Cronulla have slightly more to play for as it’s a must win game for them and they have become quite the bogey team for the Roosters in recent times. It’s all about who wants it more on the day though. Sharks by 4+

Squads

Cronulla Sharks
1 – Valentine Holmes
2 – Sosaia Feki
3 – Kurt Capewell
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 ©
Interchange
14 – Jayson Bukuya
15 – Sam Tagataese
16 – Jeremy Latimore
17 – James Segeyaro
Reserves
18 – Chris Heighington
19 – Joseph Paulo
20 – Fa’amanu Brown
21 – Jesse Ramien

Sydney Roosters
1 – Michael Gordon
2 – Latrell Mitchell
3 – Ryan Matterson
4 – Mitchell Aubusson
5 – Blake Ferguson
6 – Luke Keary
7 – Mitchell Pearce
8 – Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
9 – Jake Friend ©
10 – Dylan Napa
11 – Boyd Cordner ©
12 – Aidan Guerra
13 – Isaac Liu
Interchange
14 – Zane Tetevano
15 – Sio Siua Taukeiaho
16 – Kane Evans
17 – Connor Watson
Reserves
18 – Joseph Manu
19 – Victor Radley
20 – Chris Smith
21 – Mitchell Cornish