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2021 NRL Round 24 Preview, Sharks Vs Broncos

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

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Date: 28/8, Time: 5:30pm

Sharks Team

1. Will Kennedy
2. Sione Katoa
3. Connor Tracey
4. Jesse Ramien
5. Mawene Hiroti
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. Matt Moylan
15. Braden Hamlin-Uele
16. Aiden Tolman
17. Teig Wilton
18. Kai O’Donnell
19. Billy Magoulias
20. Jenson Taumoepeau
21. Jonaiah Lualua

Team Changes

IN: Mawene Hiroti, Aiden Tolman
OUT: Ronaldo Mulitalo, Billy Magoulias

Broncos Team

1. Tesi Niu
2. Corey Oates
3. Selwyn Cobbo
4. Herbie Farnworth
5. Xavier Coates
6. Anthony Milford
7. Albert Kelly
8. Thomas Flegler
9. Jake Turpin
10. Payne Haas
11. Alex Glenn
12. Jordan Riki
13. Kobe Hetherington
14. Danny Levi
15. Rhys Kennedy
16. Ethan Bullemor
17. TC Robati
18. David Mead
19. Brendan Piakura
20. Cory Paix
21. Brodie Croft

Team Changes

IN: nil
OUT: nil

Referee: Gerard Sutton

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Cronulla Sharks

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The Cronulla Sharks propelled themselves into eighth spot last weekend with a 30-point victory over the Wests Tigers, effectively ending their season. Now the Sharks have the opportunity to hold that spot if they continue to perform as they did on the weekend. However, they did lose this fixture earlier in the year when the Broncos ended the Sharks four game winning streak with an eight-point victory in round 16. A win against the Broncos is most important as the Sharks have the current league leader’s, the Melbourne Storm, waiting for them in the final home and away game of the season.

Unfortunately, the Sharks will be without young gun winger Ronaldo Mulitalo this weekend after he suffered an injury against the Tigers. Mawene Hiroti will replace him on the wing. Aiden Tolman returns for the Sharkies with Billy Magoulias dropping to the reserves.

Brisbane Broncos

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The Brisbane Broncos have slowly been improving over the course of the season. The once dominate side recorded just their sixth win of the season which has now propelled them above North Queensland into 14th spot on the competition ladder. The Broncos have been quite competitive over the past month with losses by under 10 points against Penrith, Sydney and Newcastle while knocking off the Cowboys and the Warriors. Some of their best form in recent times. A higher spot than 14th might be out of the Broncos reach given the 13th placed Tigers are two wins ahead on the ladder. However, the Broncos can build some momentum into next season if they play their cards right.

The home side has named the same line up that defeated the Warriors last weekend and they’ll be looking for a similar performance as they attempt to complete a clean sweep of the Sharks in 2021.

PREVIEW

The Sharks have plenty to play for as they head to Suncorp Stadium to take on the improved Brisbane Broncos in an attempt to stay ahead of the pack for that eighth and final finals’ spot.

A win over the Broncos would effectively take the Gold Coast Titans out of the equation and essentially leave it up to either Cronulla or the Canberra Raiders. So, in Cronulla’s eyes, playing the 14th placed side when wins are required is an ideal situation. However, after their previous meeting in the season, the Broncos may have that extra bit of confidence heading into the weekend.

It’s going to be a big battle in the middle of the park as the likes of Payne Haas and Thomas Flegler take on Toby Rudolf and Aaron Woods. Rudolf and Woods are going to have to be superb defensively if they’re to stop the impact of Payne Haas who has averaged 167 run metres and 3.6 tackle breaks per game. Haas’ has been a handful for opposition defences throughout his whole career and the Sharks are going to have to be ready to nullify his impact in a must-win game.

To be honest, if the Sharks play like they did against the Tigers on Saturday, they’ll be a great chance to win this game as the Broncos have been defensively vulnerable over the past two seasons and have conceded the third most points this season with 649. Given the Sharks pilled on 50 points against a similarly weak defensive side in the Tigers, you’d expect the Sharks to be aiming for plenty of points on Saturday.

Both sides are looking for their second win on the trot and if the Broncos are able to pull off a victory, it would be the first time the Broncos have won back to back games since round 2 last season. Brisbane also have the opportunity of playing in front of a home crowd who are dying to see some good performances from their side.

KEY STAT

Interestingly, the Broncos have a superb record against the Sharks with 39 wins from their 61 encounters, especially in recent times with the Broncos winning 8 of the last 10 outings against the Sharks. The 1997 Super League Grand Finalists have had high scoring affairs in their last three outings with 44 points or more scored in each game. In those outings, both sides have scored plenty of points with 20 or more being scored by each team except for the Sharks 18 points in their 8-point loss to Brisbane earlier in the year.

PREDICTION

The Sharks have too much to play for and they’ll be flying after their victory on the weekend.

Cronulla by 10 points

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