Two wins in succession have the NSW Cup Sharks riding high but they face a difficult assignment this weekend when they travel to Wollongong to tackle the Illawarra Cutters.
Once again coach Tony Herman has to work with a vastly different NSW Cup team to the one which scored a hard fought victory over the Bears last week, with injuries at the NRL level seeing a number from his squad called into action in the higher grade.
Somewhat compensating for that however is the potential inclusion of a number of quality Storm players due to the joint-venture arrangement in place with the Melbourne club.
Mahe Fonua, Ben Hampton, Dayne Weston and Jordan McLean just some of those with NRL experience set to join the Sharks in Wollongong on Saturday.
Due to television commitments the match will kick off at the early time of 1.10pm, with Fox Sports showing the match live for those unable to make the trip south to take in the action at WIN Stadium.
The NSWRL.com website has provided its weekly match preview, and while we don’t agree with the predicted result, we do agree the match will be a keen contested affair bewteen teams currently lying sixth and seventh respectivley on the NSW Cup ladder.
Summary: The Cutters will be out to stop a three game skid that has seen them go from sitting comfortably inside the top four to now be sitting in seventh.
After some close losses, the Sharks have rebounded with back to back wins against the Roos and Bears respectively, and will be hoping to continue their winning ways here.
A string of players will be missing for the Sharks for this clash with a number of regulars elevated into first grade to face the Dragons while a couple of Storm players will also be unavailable.
With this said, they have still managed to name 10 players with NRL experience for this clash.
Illawarra are not without their own team dramas with several regulars called into the Dragons side, however the NRL team has named an extended bench so one or two could possibly come back into the side on game day.
The Cutters matched it with the Panthers for the full 80 minutes last weekend and a repeat performance here would see them go close to taking home the two points.
Valentine’s Day: Sharks Holden Cup fans know all too well the talent that young Valentine Holmes possesses.
Holmes played admirably in the U20 Origin match this year, and his inclusion actually saw selectors move Anthony Milford into the halves to accommodate him.
With plenty of injuries at the Sharks at present, another impressive display by Holmes this weekend, could well see him force his way into the top grade over the coming weeks.
Prediction: There won’t be much in it. Perhaps the home side in a classic. Cutters by 2.
Illawarra Cutters Vs Cronulla Sharks
WIN Stadium, Saturday, June 7
Referee: Chris Treneman
Broadcast: LIVE on Fox Sports 1 and Sky Sport NZ