Sharks to unveil 3 debutants
Boom youngster Michael Lichaa, David Fifita, twin of Andrew and the Sharks five eighth from their NSW Cup premiership victory last season Penani Manumalealii, will all make their NRL debuts in the match against the Bulldogs.
The trio get their chance for a range of different reasons, with all three excited about the opportunity for the important clash later this evening.
Battling an early season injury crisis, coach Peter Sharp will be without Todd Carney missing due to ongoing issues with his hamstring, meaning Manumalealii gets the call up, while ironically David comes in for twin-brother Andrew who is unavailable due to suspension.
Manumalealii performed well throughout 2013 with the victorious Sharks NSW Cup team, has done all the right things during the summer and the early weeks of this current season and deserves his opportunity.
As for David Fifita, the younger of the two twins, albeit by just 10 minutes, he plays with an uncanny resemblance to his sibling, with the Sharks hoping for similar impact once he enters the game tonight which will likely be from the interchange bench.
But while the first two changes were somewhat forced, the third comes about after some irresistible form in trial games and in the NSW Cup last weekend from local boy Lichaa.
A junior Kangaroo and member of the NSW Under 20’s Origin team for the past two seasons, Lichaa has impeccable pedigree having played the last two or three seasons in the elite junior teams and now receives his shot at the big time later tonight.
In other changes to the Sharks side Chris Heighington returns after recovering from a calf strain, with his experience set to be invaluable alongside the young players playing their first games in the NRL.
The final make up of the Sharks side will be revealed closer to kickoff tonight.
The Bulldogs are reportedly have no changes and are as per the team announced earlier in the week.