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2021 NRL Round 16 Preview, Broncos Vs Sharks

Lachy MacCorquodale previews the Sunday afternoon clash between the Brisbane Broncos and the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Date: 4th July, Time: 2pm AEDT

Broncos Team

1. Tesi Niu
2. Jamayne Isaako
3. Herbie Farnworth
4. Kotoni Staggs
5. Corey Oates
6. Tyson Gamble
7. Brodie Croft
8. Matt Lodge
9. Jake Turpin
10. Payne Haas
11. Alex Glenn
12. TC Robati
13. Thomas Flegler
14. Cory Paix
15. Kobe Hetherington
16. Keenan Palasia
17. Jesse Arthars
18. Jordan Riki
19. Rhys Kennedy
20. David Mead
21. Anthony Milford

Team Changes

IN: Kotoni Staggs, Jamayne Isaako, Corey Oates, Brodie Croft, Keenan Palasia
OUT: Xavier Coates, Selwyn Cobbo, Tevita Pangai Jr, John Asiata, Karmichael Hunt

Sharks Team

1. Will 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. Siosifa Talakai
13. Toby Rudolf
14. Braydon Trindall
15. Teig Wilton
16. Jack Williams
17. Braden Hamlin-Uele
18. Billy Magoulias
19. Sione Katoa
20. Andrew Fifita
21. Mawene Hiroti

Team Changes

IN: nil
OUT:
nil

Referee: Ben Cummins

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Brisbane

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The Broncos struggles have continued as they have all season. Things only got worse during the week with Matthew Lodge departing for the Warriors effective immediately. This follows four losses on the trot in which they’ve conceded 40, 52, 38 and 46 points respectively. With only one win in their last seven outings, it’s been tough going for the current wooden spooners who have conceded a league high 482 points in their 15 matches this season.

The Broncos have made several changes to their side from their 46-point loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs but have been graced by the return of star player Kotoni Staggs. It’ll be interesting to see he impact he has on the Broncos but it’s going to be tough for Staggs to change the fortunes of the Broncos. Currently possessing the worst defence in the competition, the Broncos will need to sort out their defensive woes if they’re to take the points in this clash.

Cronulla

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On the other hand, the Sharks have been in solid form, winning their last four matches, three of them being decided by two points or less. The currently eighth placed Sharks will be determined to keep their run going and in turn increasing the side’s chances of playing in finals at the end of the year.

It’s been an incredible turn around by the Sharks who has just two wins from their first 10 matches, which included a streak of six losses on the trot leading into the four game win streak. This streak has saved Cronulla’s season and with upcoming games against the Broncos and the Warriors, they’ll like their chances of extending their win streak.

PREVIEW

Cronulla come into this fixture intending to extend their winning streak from four games to five. They should be able to do so given the horrid form of the Broncos throughout the season. The Sharks will aim to dominate the Broncos’ in the middle of the pack as the home side’s pack has weakened with the loss of both Matthew Lodge and Tevita Pangai Junior. Forwards such as Toby Rudolf and Aaron Woods will look to dominate the Broncos in the middle as Braden Hamlin-Uele will be expected to make his impact felt when he comes of the bench.

The return of Kotoni Staggs is massive news for the Broncos, the centre scoring 10 tries in his 14 appearances last season. He’ll bring a much needed creativity into this Broncos’ side, who have scored the second least amount of points in the competition this year. If the Broncos are to come away with the two points this Sunday afternoon, you’d expect Staggs to have a large impact on the game. Regardless, the whole Brisbane backline will have to produced a special result if they are to come away with the win against the in form Sharks. They’ve yet again had a poor season and the pressure will be on them to end their losing streak as they look to get off the bottom of the ladder.

KEY STAT

The last meeting between these two sides came during last season with the Cronulla Sharks winning by 10 points, their first win against the Broncos since 2016. The Broncos had won the previous six fixture prior to their loss at the hands of the Sharks last season. In fact, the Broncos have won 38 of the 61 outings between these two sides.

PREDICTION

The Sharks should to be too hard to handle for the Brisbane Broncos as they attempt to end their losing streak. Unfortunately for Broncos’ fans, I’d expect another tough afternoon as the Sharks aim to extend their winning streak. 

Cronulla by 14 points

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