Neve O’Neill previews the Round 10 clash between the New Zealand Warriors and Cronulla Sharks at Central Coast Stadium.
New Zealand Warriors
The Warriors will be looking to bounce back after a narrow 16-12 loss to the Gold Coast Titans last week. Despite a strong start, the Warriors were unable to maintain their lead and made it easy for the Titans to storm home in the second half. A win for the Warriors in this clash could push them up the NRL ladder and within reach of the top 8.
The Sharks will also be looking to make amends for their uncharacteristic performance against the Penrith Panthers last week. Beaten 56-24, the Sharks were blown off the park in the first half and conceded 5 tries before the 30 minute mark. Although banking successive tries just before the break, they were unable to contain their Penrith counterparts as the game wore on.
New Zealand Warriors
Kodi Nikorima (head knock) and Elise Katoa (ankle) are returning from injury, displacing Chanel Harris-Tavita and Jack Murchie respectively.
1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2 David Fusitu’a, 3 Patrick Herbert, 4 Peta Hiku, 5 Ken Maumalo, 6 Kodi Nikorima, 7 Blake Green, 8 Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, 9 Wayde Egan, 10 Adam Blair, 11 Eliesa Katoa, 12 Tohu Harris, 13 Karl Lawton. Interchange: 14 Agnatius Paasi, 15 Jack Hetherington, 16 Isaiah Papali’i, 17 Jazz Tevaga. Reserves: 18 Chanel Harris-Tavita, 20 Jack Murchie, 21 Lachlan Burr, 22 Adam Pompey.
Ronaldo Mulitalo is back from injury (knee), and replaces Nene Macdonald on the wing. With Andrew Fifita out (hamstring), Toby Rudolf has been promoted to the starting side (lock). Second-rower Jack Williams has been dropped.
1 Josh Dugan, 2 Sione Katoa, 3 Bryson Goodwin, 4 Jesse Ramien, 5 Ronaldo Mulitalo, 6 Shaun Johnson, 7 Chad Townsend, 8 Braden Hamlin-Uele, 9 Blayke Brailey, 10 Aaron Woods, 11 Briton Nikora, 12 Wade Graham, 13 Toby Rudolf. Interchange: 14 Connor Tracey, 15 Scott Sorensen, 16 Siosifa Talakai, 17 Royce Hunt. Reserves: 18 Jack Williams, 19 Billy Magoulias, 20 William Kennedy, 21 Nene Macdonald.
The Sharks have defeated the Warriors in five of their past six matches.
BATTLE TO WATCH
All eyes will be on fullbacks Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Warriors) and Josh Dugan (Sharks). Both prolific runners of the football, this battle is shaping up to be a cracker. Tuivasa-Sheck’s electric footwork and flair is an exciting match for Dugan’s experience and toughness. Strong performances from the duo are imperative to their teams’ success.
Prediction: Both teams will be eager to secure the 2 points and overcome their Round 9 losses. Despite being a tough contest, I expect that the Sharks will just be too strong for the Warriors.
Sharks by 6 points.
Date: Sunday 18 July, 2020
Venue: Central Coast Stadium
Kick-off: 2:00pm (AEST)