2023 NRL Preview Round 21: Sharks Vs Sea Eagles

After possibly their worst performance of the year, the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks will host a desperate Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, who will be looking to keep their faint finals hopes alive with a unlikely away victory on Sunday to finish off round 21.



Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks Vs Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Venue: PointsBet Stadium, Sydney
Date: Sunday July 23, 4:05pm


Sharks: 1. William Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Jesse Ramien 4. Connor Tracey 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Braydon Trindall 7. Nicho Hynes 8. Oregon Kaufusi 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Toby Rudolf 11. Briton Nikora 12. Jesse Colquhoun 13. Dale Finucane 14. Cameron McInnes 15. Siosifa Talakai 16. Jack Williams 17. Thomas Hazelton 18. Kayal Iro 19. Mawene Hiroti 20. Royce Hunt 21. Daniel Atkinson 22. Tuku Hau Tapuha

Sea Eagles: 1. Reuben Garrick 2. Jason Saab 3. Brad Parker 4. Tolutau Koula 5. Christian Tuipulotu 6. Josh Schuster 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Josh Aloiai 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Kelma Tuilagi 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Dean Matterson 15. Aaron Woods 16. Sean Keppie 17. Matt Lodge 18. Ethan Bullemor 19. Jakob Arthur 20. Toafofoa Sipley 21. Ray Tuaimalo-Vaega 22. Gordon Chan Kum Tong

Referee: Peter Gough

Embed from Getty Images


After three straight wins against the competition’s cellar dwellers, the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks were quickly brought back to earth by a thumping 44-12 loss to the Warriors last week. They will look to get back on track and keep their top four hopes alive with a new-look team due to a mix of injury and coach Craig Fitzgibbon finally losing patience.

Matt Moylan and Siosifa Talakai have started every game in 2023 but both have been demoted this week in a team shake up in the Shire. Whilst Talakai will still play (coming off the interchange bench), Moylan has paid the price for a season of both inconsistency and poor defence. Teig Wilton will also be missing for the remainder of the season due to injury, making it a brand new right edge combination for the Sharks.

The Sharks conceded eight tries in their 44-12 loss but have fared considerably better against teams outside the top eight this year. Sitting a win out of the top four they will be hoping the inclusion of Braydon Trindall, the always reliable Connor Tracey, and young gun edge backorder Jesse Colquhoun, will improve the team’s performances.

Trindall in particular should help take some pressure of Nicho Hynes that Moylan has failed to do in recent weeks. Despite the changes to the starting line-up, the one constant as always for the Sharks is Hynes. He will again be a danger man for the Sea Eagles on Sunday, having run rampant in all three matchups against them in Sharks colours. If history is anything to go by, he will be in for a huge game Sunday.

Meanwhile, Manly slumped to a 19-8 defeat at the hands of the Cowboys to fall three points outside the top eight and further jeopardise its finals hopes. Matt Lodge will make his club debut for Manly off the bench, with Sean Keppie joining him to provide some grunt and aggression to a pack that’s been underperforming.

The Sea Eagles have scored single-digit points in three of their last four matches – a worrying development for the post-Turbo attack period of the 2023 season. Over the last four matches they have only averaged a paltry nine points per contest, making them one of the worst attacking teams in the competition over that span.

If the Sea Eagles are any hope of coming away form the Shire with two competition points, it will have to be off the back of a stellar Daly Cherry-Evans masterclass, but that alone won’t be enough. Despite the obvious talent, questions continue to swirl about Josh Schuster’s ability at NRL level to lead his team. Schuster, along with fullback Reuben Garrick, will need to pitch in to create attacking opportunities if they are any hope of causing an upset.

Despite recent performances, this match shapes up perfectly for a Sharks bounce back week: the Sea Eagles could face a humiliating scoreline if they don’t turn up on Sunday with one of their best performances in recent months.


Sharks 5, Sea Eagles 5


Sharks by 16 points.

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