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2021 NRL Round 12 Preview, Sharks Vs Titans

Jack Harbidge previews the Indigenous Round clash between the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks and Gold Coast Titans at C.ex Coffs International Stadium. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: C.ex Coffs International Stadium, Date: Sunday May 30, Time: 2pm

Sharks Team

1. William Kennedy
2. Connor Tracey
3. Will Chambers
4. Jesse Ramien
5. Ronaldo Mulitalo
6. Matt Moylan
7. Shaun Johnson
8. Aiden Tolman
9. Blayke Brailey
10. Aaron Woods
11. Briton Nikora
12. Wade Graham
13. Toby Rudolf
14. Braydon Trindall
15. Siosifa Talakai
16. Jack Williams
17. Andrew Fifita
18. Chad Townsend
19. Billy Magoulias
20. Franklin Pele
21. Jenson Taumoepeau

Team Changes

IN: Andrew Fifita, Jenson Taumoepeau, Jesse Ramien, Ronaldo Mulitalo, Shaun Johnson, Siosifa Talakai.


OUT: Josh Dugan, Mawene Hiroti, Teig Wilton.

Titans Team

1. Alexander Brimson
2. Anthony Don
3. Brian Kelly
4. Patrick Herbert
5. Phillip Sami
6. Tanah Boyd
7. Jamal Fogarty
8. Jarrod Wallace
9. Mitch Rein
10. Moeaki Fotuaika
11. Kevin Proctor
12. David Fifita
13. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
14. Erin Clark
15. Beau Fermor
16. Jaimin Jolliffe
17. Sam McIntyre
18. Esan Marsters
19. Jai Whitbread
20. Jayden Campbell
21. Ashley Taylor

Team Changes

IN: Ashley Taylor, David Fifita, Jayden Campbell, Patrick Herbert.


OUT: Sam Stone.

Referee: Chris Sutton

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Sharks

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Cronulla-Sutherland come into the game off the back of a euphoric Golden Point win against the St George Illawarra Dragons that ended a six-game losing streak for the Sharks. The much-needed win came at a cost however, with the trio of Mawene Hiroti, Josh Dugan, and Teig Wilton all copping suspensions as a result of the new NRL refereeing and judiciary directives. On the other hand, the men from the Shire welcome back Siosifa Talakai from a four-game suspension alongside Jesse Ramien and Shaun Johnson (who return from injury). Ironically, the Golden Point hero – Chad Townsend – is dropped to the reserves list for the contest, while Johnson is set to make his 200th career appearance.

Titans

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The Gold Coast Titans squeezed past the struggling Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in what has been an up-and-down season for the Queensland side. They will be bolstered by the return of David Fifita, while Patrick Herbert returns from injury and forces Esan Masters out of the side. The Titans certainly carry defensive deficiencies this season and have lost two games having scored 28 points or more, which shows their inability to control a game while profiting from their free-flowing attack that has landed them 45 tries this season (fifth in the NRL).

PREVIEW

Cronulla’s display, while entertaining winning in Golden Point, was far from promising for their prospects going forward. The Sharks failed to finish a plethora of opportunities in a game in which they had the upper hand for the most part. The lack of clinical finishing ultimately let the Dragons stick in the game and push them to Golden Point.

The Sharks can’t afford to do that against a free-scoring Titans side who have the ability to beat sides by outscoring them, despite an exceptionally leaky defence. Cronulla should come on for the game and welcome back a host of influential players, such as Ramien, Johnson, and Siosifa Talakai, who will certainly provide an improvement in performance. On the other hand, the Titans’ inability to keep out teams nearly hurt them last time out against the Bulldogs. They will need to improve defensively to avoid a shootout this weekend; though if it is a scoring frenzy, they only face the 13th-ranked attack in the NRL.

Any form of preview, however, goes out the window when it is all but impossible to predict which infringements the referee deems worth of a yellow card and to which team. That said, if both teams retain some sense of parity with player numbers on the pitch, it will be interesting to see how Fifita fares on his return; With Fifita fully rested, his opposite man Briton Nikora is in for a big defensive night on the Sharks’ right edge. Cronulla retain no home advantage with the game being played at a neutral venue, so the nod goes to the Titans in this one.

KEY STAT

The Cronulla Sharks have come up trumps in each of the past five meetings between the two sides, and have won by a collective margin of 65 points over the five fixtures.

PREDICTION

The Titans should have too many points in them for the improved Sharks side, especially with a freshened-up David Fifita in their ranks.

Titans by eight.

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