NRL Match Preview - Sharks v Souths
The Sharks will be hoping history can repeat itself at Remondis Stadium tonight when they host a Souths team a little bit down on form and equally desperate for a win to get their 2014 campaign back on track.
Winners14-12 in a spirited content in the corresponding match at Remondis last season, the Sharks again have their backs to the wall and despite missing a couple of key personnel, are quietly confident of causing an upset against one of the competition heavyweights.
“I don’t think we are too far off,” Sharks half back Jeff Robson said. “We’ve just got to fix a few things up and hopefully a win isn’t too far away.”
While narrowly beaten by the Wests Tigers at their last start the Sharks managed to show enough to indicate a win isn’t too far away, with the Cronulla team at one stage during the second half 10 points ahead and appearing headed for victory.
Similarly Souths head into the game on the back of a loss, with the Melbourne Storm outgunning them 27-14 in a match they were tipped by many to win.
Both teams will go into tonight’s game missing their Origin stars, with Paul Gallen and Luke Lewis on duty with NSW, Greg Inglis, Chris McQueen and Ben Teo away with the Queensland team.
All five Origin players will certainly be missed however both coaches will stress the importance for others to step up and fill the very big shoes of Sharks skipper Gallen on one side, and of Rabbitohs fullback Inglis on the other.
Gallen has been enormous in two games back following an ankle injury, while Inglis ignites the Souths attack from the fullback position.
Chris Heighington takes over from Gallen at lock, while for Souths Nathan Merrit comes into the team in place of Inglis.
In other Sharks changes to the team which took the field against the Tigers, Todd Carney, Beau Ryan and Anthony Tupou will watch on from the sidelines due to injury, with the experienced Daniel Holdsworth getting another shot in the number six jersey partnering Robson in the halves.
Blake Ayshford has also been recalled into the Sharks backline, with Jonathan Wright shuffling out onto the wing for the injured Ryan.
On four competition points the Sharks definitely have enough reasons to be going all out for a win but adding to the incentive will be a desire to get a victory for veteran hooker John Morris in what is his 300th NRL game.
Morris joins an elite club of just 18 players to have reached the 300-game milestone, with tributes and celebrations planned both pre and post match to recognise the achievement.
The match is also members appreciation round for the Sharks, sponsored and supported by One Solutions, with the team to run out in a specially-designed Members jersey.
The Sharks v Souths NRL match is scheduled to get underway at 7.00pm, with the NYC match set to kick off at 4.45pm. Gates to Remondis Stadium will open at 4.30pm.