NSW Cup preview – Round 2
The Sharks began their 2014 NSW Cup campaign in the best possible fashion with a 38-30 win despite being without a number of key players due to an injury crisis affecting the NRL squad.
The Sharks raced to a big lead against the Bulldogs before being forced to hang on in the second half, but the game achieved the desired result, with the coach Tony Herman and his NSW Cup team banking the all-important two competition points from the round one win.
This week the task doesn’t get any easier, with the Sharks NRL team set to call up another of Herman’s round one team to replace the suspended Andrew Fifita, however as always they will be highly competitive and confident of a successful outcome.
Again the NSWRL has produced a match preview, and while Sharks.com.au may not agree with their predicted result, everyone is entitled to an opinion.
Preview by Brad Preston, NSWRL.com.
Summary: Two of the more impressive victors from week one square off here as the Tigers play host to the Sharks at Campbelltown.
The Tigers recovered from a sluggish start against the Cutters to pile on the points in an impressive 20-point win while the Sharks put 38 points on the scoreboard in quick time before coasting to an eight-point win against the Bulldogs.
Blake Austin was the star of the show for the Tigers, scoring three tries and playing a leading hand in several others. Michael Lichaa also scored three tries for the Sharks - quite spectacularly, he managed to accomplish the feat in five minutes.
For the Sharks, Kurt Mann will switch to fullback to cover for the loss of Nathan Gardner to injury, which means Pat Politoni will find himself partnering Penani Manumalealii in the halves.
For the Tigers, Kurtis Rowe has been named to start after missing round one. The clash between opposing wingers Taqele Naiyaravoro (Tigers) and Nathan Stapleton (Sharks) should be one which entertains the crowd and keeps the scoreboard attendant on their toes.
Austin Powers: Having come within a win of leading the Windsor Wolves to a VB NSW Cup Premiership last season, Blake Austin made the move to Wests Tigers over the summer, and judging on his performance last Saturday it appears to be a good move.
There is every chance that Austin will find his way into the Tigers’ NRL squad in the coming rounds, but in the interim, look for Austin to keep running hot in the VB NSW Cup.
Prediction: The Sharks appear a little banged up on paper and this young Tigers side is full of running after their first-up win. Tigers by 6.
Wests Tigers Vs Cronulla Sharks
Campbelltown Sports Stadium, Saturday, March 15
Referee: Daniel Olford
Broadcast: Radio Coverage courtesy of 2GLF FM 89.3 (Link available via 893fm.com.au)