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2021 NRL Round Two Preview, Sharks Vs Raiders

Lachy MacCorquodale previews the Sunday night clash between the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks and Canberra Raiders. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Sydney, Date: Sunday, 21st March, Time: 6:15pm AEDT

Sharks

  1. William Kennedy
  2. Sione Katoa
  3. Josh Dugan
  4. Mawene Hiroti
  5. Ronaldo Mulitalo
  6. Matt Moylan
  7. Chad Townsend
  8. Braden Hamlin-Uele
  9. Blayke Brailey
  10. Aaron Woods
  11. Briton Nikora
  12. Wade Graham (c)
  13. Toby Rudolf
  14. Connor Tracey
  15. Aiden Tolman
  16. Jack Williams
  17. Billy Magoulia
  18. Nene Macdonald
  19. Teig Wilton
  20. Andrew Fifita
  21. Braydon Trindall

Team Changes

IN: Mawene Hiroti
OUT: Jesse Ramien

Raiders

  1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad
  2. Bailey Simonsson
  3. Sebastian Kris
  4. Curtis Scott
  5. Jordan Rapana
  6. Jack Wighton
  7. George Williams
  8. Josh Papalii
  9. Josh Hodgson (c)
  10. Dunamis Lui
  11. Hudson Young
  12. Elliott Whitehead
  13. Joseph Tapine
  14. Siliva Havili
  15. Ryan Sutton
  16. Iosia Soliola
  17. Ryan James
  18. Sam Williams
  19. Tom Starling
  20. Emre Guler
  21. Harley Smith-Shields

Team Changes

Unchanged

Referee: Chris Sutton

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Sharks

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The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks have been forced to make one change to their side after their 14-point victory over the St. George Illawarra Dragons last weekend, after Jesse Ramien was suspended for three matches for his reckless high tackle on Matthew Dufty. Ramien’s replacement, Mawene Hiroti, will play just his eighth game in the NRL and just his second start at centre.

The Sharks are coming off a convincing performance against the Dragons in which they completed at an impressive 88 per cent throughout the match. The extra six-and-a-half minutes of possession ultimately played a big part in their win. Fullback William Kennedy and five-eighth Matt Moylan polled three and two votes respectively in the Dally M voting after two convincing performances which saw the latter play one of his finer matches in recent times. These two playmakers were helped by the fact that the Sharks only dropped the ball five times, which allowed them to play in good field position, whilst their opponents coughed the ball up on 15 occasions.

Raiders

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The Raiders named an unchanged line-up after their 18-point victory over the Wests Tigers on Sunday afternoon. The Raiders were kept quiet during the first half but were able to defend the majority of what the Raiders threw at them. The second half was a completely different story as the Raiders took it up a notch and the Tigers crumbled under the pressure. A try in the opening minute of the second half got the ball rolling for Canberra, who never looked back. The Raiders were helped by the ball-carrying of Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Curtis Scott, Hudson Young and Joseph Tapine to name a few, who charged through the Tigers’ defence during the second half as they showcased why once again they’ll be a tough team to beat.

PREVIEW

It will be a strange feeling for the Sharks and their fans, as they host the Raiders at the Dragons’ home ground. It’s going to be a tough task for the Sharks up against the 2019 runners-up after their dominating performance in the second half against the Tigers on Sunday. The Sharks forwards are going to have to aim up if they’re to come away with any success and the front rowers will have a tough job trying to contain the likes of Josh Papalii, Dunamis Lui and Joseph Tapine.

Not only will they have to contain the strong forward pack of the Raiders, but they’ll have to keep a close watch of reigning Dally M Medallist Jack Wighton: he had a quiet night against the Tigers and will be fired up to put his best foot forward against the Sharks. His opposite number, Matt Moylan, played his best game in recent times last weekend and will be a focal point in attack for the Sharks after he recorded a try assist and 95 run metres last week against the Dragons. However, it’ll be a tougher task for Moylan this Sunday as he’ll have Raiders’ defenders breathing down his neck all day. If the Raiders can perform like they did in the second half against the Tigers, it’s going to be a tough day for the Sharks regardless of how they play.

KEY STAT

Recent history is not on Cronulla’s side either, with the Raiders having won the last four encounters between the two sides, which saw the Raiders score 30-plus points in the last two. Surprisingly, both Raiders’ halves in Wighton and George Williams scored doubles in their last outing against the Sharks in the qualifying final last year.

PREDICTION

Canberra Raiders by 10 points.

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