Beware the wounded Shark
Todd Carney is racing the clock to be fit, as is winger Beau Ryan, however despite the setbacks the Sharks are quietly confident of success when they tackle the Gold Coast Titans in their season-opener on Monday night at Remondis Satdium.
In a clash that mirrors the round one match up from 12 months prior, where the Sharks scored an emotional 12-10 victory, the home team is well equipped to cover for their injured personnel.
The acquisition of Daniel Holdsworth in the off-season is set to reap immediate benefits, with the experienced play maker set to play a key role, while the return of Ricky Leutele and the recent signing of Eric Grothe Junior has added considerably to the backline depth at the club.
Both Grothe and Leutele will come into calculations should Ryan be ruled out, while a replacement in the halves for Carney is yet to be determined. Most likely Wade Graham would revert to play in a position he is more than familiar with after coming through the junior grades as a five eighth.
On a positive note, the Sharks will go into the match on Monday boasting two of the most destructive forwards in the game, with skipper Paul Gallen and Australian and NSW front rower Andrew Fifita to lead the way in the middle of the field.
Sharks fans will also get their first ‘official’ glimpse of newcomers Blake Ayshford and Matt Prior, with the pair impressing all concerned at the Auckland Nines.
The game will be significant on a number of fronts, not only for the two competition points on offer, but in celebrating a couple of the most respected forwards in rugby league.
Former Sharks and now Titans forward Luke Douglas is set to break the consecutive NRL games record held by Jason Taylor, while Cronulla captain Gallen climbs to second on the Sharks list of total games played for the club.
Gallen was tied with David Peachey on 232 games played at the conclusion of 2013 but on Monday night will jump past former Sharks fullback David Peachey to trial only club immortal Andrew Ettingshausen as the second-most capped player in club history.
As for Douglas, the NRL has produced a tribute video in recognition of his special achievement, with more than 140 NRL games played for the Sharks before his move to the Gold Coast in 2012.
And ahead of the season kickoff it’s not too late to become a Sharks member for the upcoming season, with both ticketed and non-ticketed memberships still available in a variety of categories.
Seated memberships in the Monty Porter and Peter Burns Stands, as well as in the Eastern Concourse, can be purchased, along with general admission memberships for adults, children/concession and family.
Shark Net memberships, offering, are also available, so why not include the Sharks season-opener against the Titans in a five game Sharks Net package and come along to the game on Monday night. Memberships can be secured by visiting the dedicated members section of the Sharks website at www.sharks.com.au/meberships.
With a large crowd, and significantly a big walk up crowd expected, the best way to ensure a speedy entry into Remondis Stadium is to order your tickets online.
Pre-purchased tickets also represent a saving on the ‘at the gate’ ticket price. Visit www.ticketek.com.au/sharks to pre-purchase for Monday night.
The game against the Titans is scheduled for a 7.00pm kickoff on Monday, with NYC getting underway at 4.45pm. Gates to Remondis Stadium open at 4.30pm.