Chloe Schibeci previews the Friday night match between the Cronulla Sharks and Melbourne Storm at PointsBet Stadium.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
The Sharks have won just three games this season and are struggling significantly with injuries to key players. They will be after a win at home after losing by 23 points to the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium last weekend.
Melbourne have been the team to beat so far in 2019, losing just one game so far this season. They lost their first game of the season to the Roosters by just one point in round six, a week before a lucky one-point comeback against the Warriors.
The Sharks lost Shaun Johnson and Josh Dugan during last weekend’s loss against the Brisbane Broncos. Johnson has been ruled out for four weeks while Dugan has been named in the reserves. Briton Nikora is back from suspension against Melbourne
Sharks’ Squad: 1. William Kennedy, 2. Sosaia Feki, 3. Bronson Xerri, 4. Josh Morris, 5. Sione Katoa, 6. Kyle Flanagan, 7. Chad Townsend, 8. Andrew Fifita, 9. Jayden Brailey, 10. Matt Prior, 11. Briton Nikora, 12. Kurt Capewell, 13. Paul Gallen, 14. Blayke Brailey, 15. Jayson Bukuya, 16. Jack Williams, 17. Braden Hamlin-Uele, 18. Scott Sorensen, 19. Ronaldo Mulitalo, 20. Aaron Gray, 21. Josh Dugan
Nelson Asofa-Solomona moves back to the starting side after being named on the interchange bench against the Warriors. Christian Welch starts on the bench.
Storm Squad: 1. Jahrome Hughes, 2. Suliasi Vunivalu, 3. Will Chambers, 4. Marion Seve, 5. Josh Addo-Carr, 6. Cameron Munster, 7. Brodie Croft, 8. Jesse Bromwich, 9. Cameron Smith, 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 11. Felise Kaufusi, 12. Kenneath Bromwich, 13. Dale Finucane, 14. Brandon Smith, 15. Christian Welch, 16. Tui Kamikamica, 17. Ryan Papenhuyzen, 18. Billy Walters, 19. Patrick Kaufusi, 20. Joe Stimson, 21. Curtis Scott
HEAD TO HEAD
The Sharks will host the Melbourne Storm at PointsBet Stadium on Friday night, desperate for a win despite their injury toll. In the last 15 games Cronulla and Melbourne have played together, Cronulla has won six. The last time these two met was in a 2018 grand final qualifier, where Melbourne won by 16 points, sending them to the grand final. The Storm has won all but one game this year, while Cronulla has won just three. It is often quite an entertaining match when these two sides play, and there is no doubt it will be the same Friday night at PointsBet Stadium.
The game between the Sharks and the Storm will be entertaining, and a great match-up overall. A key battle, in particular, is between the hookers; Cameron Smith and Jayden Brailey.
23-year-old Brailey made his NRL debut in 2017, while Smith made his in 2002. It will be an interesting battle between the two due to the differences in experience. Smith is known for being one of the best in the NRL, while Brailey is just beginning his career.
Both are smart, talented players who are invaluable to their respective clubs. Brailey is an exciting young player who is still learning his trade, while Smith is a senior player with a lot of experience.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Friday, May 3
Venue: PointsBet Stadium
Kick-off: 7:55 PM
Referee: Ben Cummins, Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
WHO WILL WIN?
Considering ‘anybody can beat anybody,’ the Sharks have the potential to win. However, the number of injuries to key players will make it difficult to defeat a team as strong as Melbourne.
Storm by eight.