NSW Cup Preview - Sharks v Cutters
Thursday 18 July 2013 10:48 AM
Following a weekend off the NSW Cup Sharks will be looking to add to their 16 wins when they travel to Henson Park on Saturday to tackle the Illawarra Cutters.
Sitting six points clear at the top of the NSW Cup table with 16 victories and just one loss, the Sharks will be confident of success despite being without a number of key players due an injury crisis affecting the NRL squad.
Missing for the NSW Cup Sharks will be Chad Townsend, who has been called up to replace Jeff Robson, while NSW Cup team regulars Tyrone Peachey, Mark Taufua and Stuart Mills are also on duty with the NRL squad for their match with the Roosters.
In a positive for the Sharks, David Fifita has been continuing to train strongly with the full-time squad and plays his second NSW Cup match after an impressive debut against Windsor some two weeks ago.
Brad Preston from NSWRL.com has provided his weekly preview of a match scheduled to be played at Henson Park, kicking off at 1.00pm on Saturday afternoon.
Summary:The high flying Cronulla Sharks will need to be on their guard this weekend when they take on a Cutters side that will be playing for their season.
Following back to back losses to Manly and North Sydney, the Cutters find themselves sitting two wins outside of the top eight as well as some considerable for and against. In all likelihood, a loss here for the boys from Wollongong would see them left with little chance of playing finals football in 2013.
The Sharks have no such concerns as only a calamitous end to their season would see them finish anywhere other than in the position they have occupied since the start of the year, first.
Injuries at the NRL level have finally started to rear its ugly head though however, and with the likes of Gallen, Lewis, Robson and Graham all currently on the sideline for Cronulla, their VB NSW Cup sides depth is now truly being put to the test.
Penani Manumalealii will start at halfback for the Sharks with Chad Townsend playing NRL this weekend while David Fifita is down for his first start in the run on side for the black, white and blue.
For the Cutters, Adam Quinlan has been rushed back into first grade after playing in the six jumper last weekend, and his spot in the team will be taken by Nathan Dureau.
Talking Point:From ANZ to Henson – His identical twin brother Andrew was one of NSW best at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday night, but this Saturday, David Fifita will be running out for the Cronulla Sharks at Henson Park.
David debuted for his new club at this same venue a few weeks back but this weekend marks his first match in the run on team. Not many are expecting much from David this season as he gets back into the swing of things in Australia after returning from France, but look for a big off season beside brother Andrew to really switch this kid on for next year.
Prediction:Have to tip the Sharks but it is definitely a danger game for them. Sharks by 8.
Cronulla Sharks Vs Illawarra Cutters
Henson Park, Saturday, July 20
Referee: Shane Rehm
Broadcast: Radio Coverage courtesy of Steele Sports Radio (Link available via the www.nswrl.com.au Broadcast page)