Chloe Schibeci previews the Saturday afternoon clash between the Sharks the Warriors at PointsBet Stadium.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
The Sharks have pushed themselves back into the top eight after a win in the local derby against the Dragons last Sunday afternoon. In order to make it into the top eight, Cronulla has to win their last few games, starting with the Warriors.
New Zealand Warriors
The Warriors have struggled this season, winning just eight of their twenty-one games. The most recent win was against the Sea Eagles in round 21. Last week, they lost to the Sydney Roosters by a large margin.
Matt Moylan has been ruled out once again as a result of a hamstring injury. This means Josh Dugan will line up at fullback, Josh Morris will move into the centres and Ronaldo Mulitalo is on the wing.
Sharks’ Squad: 1. Josh Dugan, 2. Sosaia Feki, 3. Bronson Xerri, 4. Josh Morris, 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo, 6. Shaun Johnson, 7. Chad Townsend, 8. Aaron Woods, 9. Jayden Brailey, 10. Matt Prior, 11. Briton Nikora, 12. Wade Graham, 13. Paul Gallen, 14. Kurt Capewell, 15. Jack Williams, 16. Andrew Fifita, 17. Braden Hamlin-Uele, 18. Billy Magoulias, 19. Blayke Brailey, 20. Sione Katoa, 21. Kyle Flanagan
New Zealand Warriors
Issac Luke, David Fusitu’a and have been named in coach Stephen Kearney’s 21-man squad. Gerard Beale suffered a knee injury in the Warriors’ loss to the Roosters on Sunday, which brings Patrick Herbert back into the side.
Warriors’ Squad: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2. David Fusitu’a, 3. Peta Hika, 4. Patrick Herbert, 5. Ken Maumalo, 6. Chanel Harris-Tavita, 7. Blake Green, 8. Agnatius Paasi, 9. Issac Luke, 10. Leeson Ah Mau, 11. Adam Blair, 12. Isaiah Papali’I, 13. Jazz Tevaga, 14. Lachlan Burr, 15. Sam Lisone, 16. Bunty Afoa, 17. Kodi Nikorima, 18. Adam Pompey, 20. Ligi Sao, 21. Adam Keighran, 22. Blake Ayshford
HEAD TO HEAD
The last time these two sides met was not all that long ago in Wellington, where the Warriors won by a single point. The Sharks had the lead for the majority of the game until a late try and field goal from the home team won them the two points.
The Sharks are dominant in the history between the two sides. Of their twelve most recent games, dating back to 2012, Cronulla has won nine. They won four in a row against the Warriors until their loss in Wellington in July.
The Warriors will be hoping to bounce back from their loss to the Roosters last weekend, while Cronulla will be hoping to maintain momentum and win a second consecutive game. This is an important game for the Sharks as they are hoping to stay in the top eight heading into the finals series.
The match between the Cronulla Sharks and the New Zealand Warriors is likely to be an entertaining Saturday afternoon fixture.
There are a couple of key battles, one of which being Jayden Brailey versus Issac Luke. Both players are valuable assets to their respective teams, and the Warriors will no doubt be pleased to have Luke back, who has just finished serving a three-match suspension.
Brailey, who announced he will be leaving the Sharks at the end of the season, has been an important player for his team, particularly this season. He is a strong, talented player, as is Warriors’ Issac Luke, who will play his fifteenth game of the year on Saturday afternoon.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday, 24 August
Venue: PointsBet Stadium
Kick-off: 3:00 PM
Referee: Gerard Sutton, Gavin Badger
WHO WILL WIN?
Despite the loss last weekend, the Warriors may have confidence going into Saturday afternoon after winning against Cronulla just a few weeks ago. Meanwhile, the Sharks will be determined to win in order to keep their finals hopes alive.
Sharks by 2.