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2021 NRL Round 23 Preview, Tigers Vs Sharks

Jack Harbidge previews the Round 23 clash between top eight chasers Wests Tigers and Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at Browne Park….. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: Browne Park, Rockhampton Date: Saturday 21st August Time:

Tigers Team

1. Moses Mbye
2. David Nofoaluma
3. Tommy Talau
4. Michael Chee Kam
5. Ken Maumalo
6. Adam Doueihi
7. Luke Brooks
8. Stefano Utoikamanu
9. Jake Simpkin
10. Joe Ofahengaue
11. Shawn Blore
12. Luciano Leilua
13. Alex Twal
14. Kelma Tuilagi
15. Tukimihia Simpkins
16. Billy Walters
17. Tom Amone
18. Jock Madden
19. Zac Cini
20.
21.

Team Changes

IN: Billy Walters, Jock Madden, Tom Amone.
OUT: Jacob Liddle, Thomas Mikaele.

Sharks Team

1. William Kennedy
2. Sione Katoa
3. Jesse Ramien
4. Connor Tracey
5. Ronaldo Mulitalo
6. Luke Metcalf
7. Braydon Trindall
8. Toby Rudolf
9. Blayke Brailey
10. Aaron Woods
11. Briton Nikora
12. Siosifa Talakai
13. Jack Williams
14. Braden Hamlin-Uele
15. Teig Wilton
16. Billy Magoulias
17. Matt Moylan
18. Kai O’Donnell
19. Jonaiah Lualua
20.
21.

Team Changes

IN: Jonaiah Lualua, Matt Moylan, Teig Wilton.
OUT: Aiden Tolman, Andrew Fifita.

Referee: Gerard Sutton

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Tigers

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Wests come into this must-win game off the back of a pair of victories. The first of which came against the hapless Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, while they also got the better of the Cowboys last time out.

Jacob Liddle is a notable out for the Tigers, missing the match through suspension alongside Thomas Mikaele.

With their season on the line, Wests have a spring in their step after back-to-back wins and appear to have patched some holes in their defence, having only conceded 32 points across the two fixtures.

Sharks

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On the other hand, Cronulla-Sutherland come into the game completely out of form, having lost their last three fixtures as well as four of their last five games. Last time out the Sharks suffered a heartbreaking loss against the Knights that was sealed by a late conversion from Jake Clifford.

Unfortunately, Cronulla lose Aiden Tolman through suspension and Andrew Fifita is out after fracturing his larynx in the Sharks’ clash against the Knights. On the plus side, Matt Moylan comes in to the squad and is a chance to be a late inclusion.

PREVIEW

This is arguably the highest stakes game of the round, with both sides needing to win to extend their playoff hopes.

Expect both sides to come into this with their best foot forward despite their differing recent form. That said, Wests’ recent mental fortitude has been far superior than Cronulla when push comes to shove, especially with another disheartening late loss for the Sharks last time out.

Josh Hannay will undoubtedly be trying to rally the troops for this one but the worrying injury to the long serving Andrew Fifita, and the news surrounding it, will no doubt have taken a mental toll on the Cronulla side. By contrast, Wests appear to have found a stout mental state and have strung back-to-back victories together for the first time since early June – albeit against inferior opposition in the Cowboys and Bulldogs.

In adddition, the Tigers’ squad has had little notable disruption in recent weeks and, as a result, they looks far more gelled in both attack and defence. Their defence will need to be on point this week so as not to gift points to a faltering Cronulla attack, and if they can indeed hold the Sharks to 16 points, as they have done to their opposition the past two weeks, they should have enough points in them to get the job done.

That said, Cronulla may well benefit from the inclusion of Matty Moylan if he makes the cut. The versatile back gives a number of attacking options that can cause serious damage off the back of powerful forwards like Siosifa Talakai, who has been a standout for the Cronulla side.

KEY STAT

Wests Tigers have a positive 18-13 win/loss ratio in this fixture over the past 32 games between the two sides, however Cronulla have won six of the last seven clashes.

PREDICTION

Wests Tigers by four.

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