It may have taken two ‘tours or duty’ however Isaac De Gois will chalk up a personal milestone to be proud of when he plays his 100th NRL match for the Sharks on Sunday.
De Gois turned in a performance which earned him the player’s player award in a losing effort against the Dragons last week, with the experienced number nine primed for something special against his former club the Knights.
Joining the Sharks from the Wests Tigers back in 2007, De Gois played two seasons at Cronulla before moving on to play for Newcastle. He returned to the Sharks in 2012.
Now in his fifth season at the Sharks, his 100th Cronulla game, along with his 168th NRL appearance, can be a special moment should his team be able to pull off what many would see as an upset by beating the Knights on Sunday.
The two teams are equally desperate for a win, with both 0-3 to start the 2014 season.
While the occasion will be a personally satisfying one for De Gois, the match is promising to be an emotional one for the Knights when considering the shocking spinal injury suffered by young forward Alex McKinnon last week.
The Knights have had a difficult week dealing with the McKinnon tragedy, with the challenge awaiting the Sharks set to be even more intense with the home side looking to end the week on a positive note.
Helping the Sharks cause however will be the return of prop Andrew Fifita after two weeks out with suspension, while five eighth Todd Carney should be better for the run against the Dragons after playing his first game for 2014 since injuring his hamstring at the Auckland Nines.
Travelling to Hunter Stadium is no doubt a difficult away trip but just 12 months prior the Sharks proved a victory can be had, with the last visit to Newcastle resulting in a 21-20 overtime victory for the Cronulla team.
In 19 games between the two clubs played at Sunday’s venue the Knights hold a 13-5 (1 draw) advantage, while in the total head-to-head comparison the Newcastle club is again on top, with 25 wins to 16 by the Sharks.
The Sharks v Newcastle NRL game is the a part of three matches between the two clubs scheduled for Sunday, with the NYC match getting the day started at 10.45am, followed by the NSW Cup at 12.45pm and the main game at 3.00pm.
For Sharks fans unable to travel to Newcastle for the game on Sunday, the match will be telecast on delay, beginning at 4.00pm, on Channel 9.
In late team news, the selected Sharks 18-man squad is fit for the game, with coach Peter Sharp to make a decision on the final make up of his bench following the teams’ final training session on Saturday morning.