2023 NRL Preview Round 16: Sharks Vs Bulldogs

Andrew Pelechaty previews the final game of Round 16: Cronulla-Sutherland vs Canterbury-Bankstown.



Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks vs Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Venue: PointsBet Stadium, Sydney
Date: Sunday June 18, 4:05pm


Sharks: William Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Jesse Ramien 4. Siosifa Talakai 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Matt Moylan 7. Nicho Hynes 8. Oregon Kaufusi 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Braden Hamlin-Uele 11. Briton Nikora 12. Teig Wilton 13. Dale Finucane 14. Cameron McInnes 15. Wade Graham 16. Jack Williams 17. Thomas Hazelton 18. Connor Tracey 19. Braydon Trindall 20. Toby Rudolf 21. Daniel Atkinson 22. Jesse Colquhoun

Bulldogs: 1. Hayze Perham 2. Jacob Kiraz 3. Jake Averillo 4. Paul Alamoti 5. Braidon Burns 6. Karl Oloapu 7. Matt Burton 8. Chris Patolo 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Tevita Pangai Junior 11. Jayden Okunbor 12. Jacob Preston 13. Harrison Edwards 14. Khaled Rajab 15. Kurtis Morrin 16. Max King 17. Corey Waddell 19. Jeral Skelton 20. Kyle Flanagan 21. Fa’amanu Brown 22. Jackson Topine 23. Franklin Pele

Referee: Adam Gee

Embed from Getty Images


The final game of Round 16 is a big clash between two underwhelming teams. After finishing top four last year, the Sharks have failed to capitalise, sitting in fifth with a 7-6 record (and two byes). Amazingly, they’re yet to beat a top eight team in 2023 – losing to Souths, Canberra, the NZ Warriors, Brisbane, and Melbourne. They also lost to The Dolphins in Magic Round, when the expansion club were in the eight.

The 15th placed Bulldogs (5-9 and one bye) are in wooden spoon territory, narrowly ahead of the Wests Tigers and St George Illawarra. The inconsistent Dogs have only won consecutive games once: against the Storm in Round 2 and the Wests Tigers in Round 3. This early sprout of optimism must feel like a lifetime ago for long-suffering fans.

The Sharks have won the last four games against Canterbury, including a 33-20 win in Round 8 this season.

While the Bulldogs have lost Josh Addo-Carr and Matt Burton to Origin, the surprise omission of Cronulla’s Nicho Hynes could turn this game. After only playing 12 minutes in Origin 1, Hynes will be confused and frustrated over his dumping, and will be desperate to show Brad Fittler he deserves to return for Game 3. Combine that with the Sharks wanting to get back into the top four (after a heavy loss to Melbourne), and this could be another long afternoon for the Bulldogs.


Sharks 8, Bulldogs 2


Sharks by 18 points.

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