2024 NRL: Magic Round Preview, Sharks vs Roosters

Check out the match preview and prediction for the Magic Round clash between the Sharks and the Roosters.

MATCHDAY NEWS

MATCHDAY SCHEDULE

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks Vs Sydney Roosters
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane.
Date: Saturday May 18, 5:30pm

MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS

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

Players cut from final squad:

Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii 4. Fetalaiga Pauga 5. Dominic Young 6. Luke Keary 7. Sam Walker 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Brandon Smith 10. Lindsay Collins 11. Angus Crichton 12. Nat Butcher 13. Victor Radley 14. Connor Watson 15. Egan Butcher 16. Spencer Leniu 17. Terrell May 18. Zach Dockar-Clay 19. Naufahu Whyte 20. Sitili Tupouniua 21. Ethan King 22. Siua Wong

Referee: Adam Gee

Embed from Getty Images

MATCHDAY PREVIEW

The last time these two sides met was one of the most authentic NRL finals games in modern history.

Now, that’s quite the statement. But anyone who remembers what happened at Shark Park in week one of the 2023 finals series knows that very few games have ever epitomised the demands of NRL success more than that clash.

The physicality of that fixture was second to none. Joseph Manu and Joseph Aukuso-Suaalii barely made it past half-time. A James Tedesco professional foul saw Sandon Smith playing fullback, with Egan Butcher and Siua Wong in the centres. But at that level the team that’s left standing is the one who disregards all those factors and simply never gives up.

People tend to disregard this Cronulla Sharks side because they’ve failed to win in the finals for the last two years. That may be correct – but it doesn’t paint the full picture. Back in week one of the 2022 series, Cronulla led by a converted try in the 79th minute before Jason Taumalolo barged over, and Valentine Holmes kicked a 92nd minute 2 point field goal to advance the Cowboys to a preliminary final.

Then, as mentioned, the year after it took one of the most spirited wins in the 115-year history of the Roosters to get past the Sharks by a single point.

Craig Fitzgibbon’s Cronulla always want to beat the Roosters. It’s a by-product of his time there as a player and a coach, and the opportunity for the apprentice to get one back over his old master Trent Robinson.

But this time will mean a little bit more. They may have only lost once this season, but there’s a genuine point to prove for the Sharks here. Even after a heroic win in Melbourne last week, they’re still rank outsiders against a side sitting down in fifth place. Cronulla aren’t yet taken seriously, and that must sting.

So don’t let the bright lights and festival atmosphere of Magic Round fool you. For Cronulla, this game will see the demons of that night at Shark Park resurface, and represent an opportunity for them to announce to the NRL world: we are here, and we are different.

Head-to-head stats can be found at Magic Round Number Crunch.

MATCHDAY PREDICTION

Check out all the NRL Predictions for Magic Round here.

Roosters by 2 points.

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