2023 NRL Preview Round 5: Sharks Vs Warriors

Nicho Hynes is back, and so are the Sharks who take on a Warriors team that holds a surprising 3-1 record on the season so far.



Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks Vs New Zealand Warriors
Venue: PointsBet Stadium
Date: Sunday April 2, 4:05pm


Sharks: 1. William Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Jesse Ramien 4. Siosifa Talakai 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Matt Moylan 7. Nicho Hynes 8. Toby Rudolf 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Braden Hamlin-Uele 11. Briton Nikora 12. Teig Wilton 13. Dale Finucane 14. Cameron McInnes 15. Royce Hunt 16. Jack Williams 17. Braydon Trindall 18. Connor Tracey 19. Thomas Hazelton 20. Mawene Hiroti 21. Samuel Stonestreet 22. Tuku Hau Tapuha

Warriors: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Edward Kosi 3. Viliami Vailea 4. Adam Pompey 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Ronald Volkman 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Bunty Afoa 11. Jackson Ford 12. Marata Niukore 13. Tohu Harris 14. Dylan Walker 15. Bayley Sironen 16. Jazz Tevaga 17. Tom Ale 18. Josh Curran 20. Taine Tuaupiki 21. Freddy Lussick 22. Rocco Berry 23. Demitric Sifakula

Referee: Ben Cummins

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All of a sudden, the Cronulla Sharks have a new swagger and the people of the Shire a renewed premiership hope with their star halfback and reigning Dally M Medallist Nicho Hynes returning, and dominating last round immediately.

The Sharks were back to their damaging best with a 40-8 romp over the Dragons last week with Hynes contributing an impressive 3 try assists and 5 line break assists. They will look to carry that momentum into Sunday afternoon’s matchup with the New Zealand Warriors.

Whilst the Sharks forwards have maintained a good line of form so far in 2023, the outside backs have certainly struggled relative to the juggernaut that finished 2nd on the NRL ladder in 2022. Almost like a hungry dog being let off the chain, Ramien, Katoa, Talakai and Mulitalo especially, all feasted in round 4. The backline was in outrageous form with all but Talakia managing at least 1 try. That is going to be the challenge for the Warriors travelling to the shire in round 5, containing the Sharks points out wide that tore them up in their last matchup’s.

The Warriors have been one of the surprise packets of the season, sitting inside the top four with a 3-1 record. They have done so despite conceding the first try in all four matches. New Zealand’s recent record against the Sharks doesn’t make for pretty reading though, losing 10 of its past 12 and having not tasted victory in the Shire since 2015. This includes 2022 matches where the Warriors were pummelled 29-10 and 38-16, with the first game seeing the Sharks playing with just 11 men for an extended period.

Whilst the pressure will be on the Warriors defence to contain the Sharks, and in particular Hynes, they have conceded the 3rd least points to opposition teams in 2023. The new-found defence is what has seen Andrew Websters maiden season as coach start off so successful and a key factor to give the club’s confidence. Unfortunately for the Warriors their attack is in the bottom half of the league as well and will come up against a formidable defensive side in the Sharks. Assuming the Warriors can continue their defensive prowess, much of their ability to win may come down to scoring points.

The hosts have stuck with the same starting 13, with Braydon Trindall joining the bench for Oregon Kaufusi in their only change. The Warriors have lost Te Maire Martin to a head knock, with Ronald Volkman making his first appearance of the season as a replacement, while Wayde Egan returns at hooker. The return of Egan is a particularly important boost for the Warriors with the hooker in career best from and scoring a try in all 3 of his matches this season. Egan and Shaun Johnson’s recent rejuvenation in attack might decide if the Warriors can find enough points to trouble the Sharks and buck recent history.

Away from home and with the Sharks now full strength it could be the hardest test on the Warriors 2023 credentials so far. It does seem like a long shot they will be able to come away from PointsBet Stadium with points, however this Warriors team isn’t the team of past years. Either way, its a matchup that should see some great football and the Nicho Hynes show continuing on another week.


Sharks 9, Warriors 1


Sharks by 20 points.

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