NSW Cup Preview – Round 12
While their NRL and NYC counterparts can put the feet up this weekend and take a well-earned rest due to the bye, the NSW Cup Sharks will be in action when they face the North Sydney Bears.
In a match to be played at Remondis Stadium on Saturday afternoon, the Sharks will look to build on their convincing win over Wyong last week with another strong performance against the Bears.
The feeder team for the Souths Sydney Rabbitohs, the Bears however will be no pushovers, with their selected team featuring the likes of Nathan Merritt, Lote Tuqiri, Bryson Goodwin, Joe Picker and Luke Burgess.
Similarly the Sharks will field a team featuring a number of players with NRL experience, with Nathan Gardner and Nathan Stapleton in particular both in good form of late and sure to be looking to impress in a bid to earn promotion to the NRL squad.
The NSW Cup Sharks are currently seventh on the competition ladder, while the Bears are struggling to find their best form and are in 12th position.
The match with the Bears kicks off at 3.00pm at Remondis, with all ticketed Sharks members admitted free.
Again this week the NSWRL.com has provided a match preview.
Summary: The Bears welcome back Nathan Merritt for their clash with the reigning premiers, while Melbourne Storm youngster Dean Britt has been promoted to Tony Herman’s starting side.
Herman will be looking to grab as many points as possible over what is normally a tough period for his side with all the players elevated due to Origin selections.
The Sharks’ merry-go-round of halves continues though with Pat Politoni moving from hooker into five-eighth. Politoni will partner Penani Manumalealii and the pair should be more familiar with each other having played together all of last year, albeit with Politoni at hooker.
Norths coach Wayne Lambkin has signaled his intentions by naming regular front-rower/back-rower Matt Hyland at hooker to add some much needed size to his pack. Hyland is a defensive machine and he will have plenty of work to do with the Sharks possessing plenty of size and power deep onto the bench.
The Bears need their pack to fire here and if the likes of Ben Lowe, Luke Burgess and Joe Picker can play to their potential, the Bears can cause an upset.
Battle of the custodians: Nathan Gardner and Nathan Merritt square off at the back. Both know their way to the stripe and have the ability to turn a game on its head. Both are desperate to get back into first grade as well.
Prediction: Hard to not see the Sharks winning here. Sharks by 10.
Cronulla Sharks Vs North Sydney Bears
Remondis Stadium, Saturday, May 31
Referee: Alan Shortall
Broadcast: Radio Coverage courtesy of Steele Sports Radio (Link available viawww.steelesports.com.au)