Fifita primed for Origin return
After a year away from the Origin arena, Sharks prop Andrew Fifita has earned a recall and will take his place in the NSW team for game one of the series next Wednesday night.
Fifita was a member of the NSW team in 2013 but missed selection for all three games last year, however his form has been irresistible since the City-Country game last month, resulting in coach Laurie Daley naming him in this year’s team.
While Fifita may have been celebrating his selection, Sharks teammate Luke Lewis was perhaps the most unlucky when Daley failed to read his name out when the squad was announced at The Star yesterday.
A stalwart of 17 Origins, including all three games in the NSW series win last year, and also a member of the recent Kangaroos team that went down to the Kiwis, Lewis missed out on the side for game one.
Also absent from game one is Sharks and NSW skipper Paul Gallen, with his hip injury having not yet fully recovered.
Game one of the Origin series is scheduled for next Wednesday, May 27, at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
Lewis early plea
Luke Lewis accepted the early guilty plea this week in response to a Grade One Dangerous throw charge from the game against the Titans.
Lewis was charged with a 67th minute tackle on Titan forward Dave Taylor.
Were he to fight the charge Lewis stood to accumulate 125 points, meaning he would miss one match, however with the guilty plea he will be available to take on the Dragons in the local derby on Sunday, May 31.
He now has 93 carry-over points which would be added to any subsequent match review charges.
Lewis was outstanding in the win over the Titans and the Sharks will need him to deliver a similar performance if they hope to get the better of an in-form Dragons outfit.
Hasson also accepts the charge
Obviously attracting less headlines than the Lewis situation was another match review charge, this one coming against NYC forward Pat Hasson.
Hasson was charged with dangerous contact grade one, stemming from an incident in the 56th minute, however like Lewis, he too will take the early plea and be available to play the Sharks next match against the Dragons.
A front rower from the local De La Salle club, Hasson is the brother of Manly NRL forward James.
The NYC Sharks scored a gritty last start win over the Titans and will be looking for a similar effort when they tackle St George on Sunday week.
Junior Sharks reign supreme
If they though the week before was good, things only got better for the Sharks Matthews Cup and SG Ball teams when they would go on to win National Championship matches against the Townsville Stingers.
The 16’s Sharks would establish a match-winning 26-0 lead before hanging on as their opponents mounted a comeback, however when the siren sounded on a 26-20 victory the young Cronulla side were worthy national champions.
In the SG Ball the match followed a completely different course, with a closely fought affair coming right down to the wire.
After the Stingers scored to take a 16-14 lead just four minutes from time all seemed lost for the Sharks, however a try orchestrated by captain Curtis Scott and finished off by winger Cameron Scott, saw the 18’s Sharks register a thrilling 18-16 triumph.
The two wins capped off a remarkable season for both Sharks junior rep sides, with the two national titles representing the first time one club had claimed both national championship trophies in the same year.
Sharks 16s in NSW squad
Four Sharks Matthews Cup players have earned selection in the NSW Under-16’s team to play Queensland in the curtain-raiser to State of Origin 1 next Wednesday.
In a just reward for their outstanding seasons, Dylan Smith, Luke Metcalf, Jaemon Salmon and Lachlan Smith have all been named to play for NSW with the four local juniors a part of the Blues run-on side.
Dylan Smith is from the Engadine Dragons club, with Metcalf, Salmon and Lachlan Smith De La Salle juniors.
The annual interstate clash against Queensland will be played prior to Origin I on Wednesday, May 27 at ANZ Stadium, with the NSW team to be coached by former Knights and Australian hooker Danny Buderus.
The NSW Under-16s Player Pathway 2015 Squad is:
Campbell Graham (South Sydney)
Joshua Cook (South Sydney)
Sebastian Kris (Canberra)
PJ Vaigalu (Parramatta)
Alex Seve (Parramatta)
Josh Curran (Parramatta)
Tui Afualo (Parramatta)
Ethan Parry (Parramatta)
Payne Haas (Gold Coast)
Rocky Togatiki (Penrith)
Ethan O’Neill (Sydney Roosters)
Zac Lomax (Illawarra)
Brandon Wakeham (Canterbury)
Jaeman Salmon (Cronulla)
Luke Metcalf (Cronulla)
Lachlan Smith (Cronulla)
Dylan Smith (Cronulla)
Matt Croker (Newcastle)
Tex Hoy (Newcastle)
Jets grounded – temporarily
The Newtown Jets had their progress halted slightly last weekend when beaten 26-24 by the Bulldogs in a round 10 clash at Belmore Sports Ground.
Entrenched in the top eight, the Jets were without a number of their regulars due to the Sharks NRL squad’s long injury toll and fought on bravely only to be narrowly beaten.
This weekend however they welcome back the likes of Junior Roqica, Pat Politoni and Sami Sauiluma, with Tinirau Arona also included in the Newtown team as he looks for some match fitness after a couple of weeks on the sideline with a hamstring injury.
The Jets play the Wenty Magpies this Sunday at Ringrose Park. With the Sharks having the bye, any fans looking for their footy fix, get out to Wentworthville and give the Jets some support. Kick-off is at 3.00pm on Sunday.
Sea of Blue
The banter has begun between the Sharks and Dragons ahead of the ‘derby’, with St George Illawarra firing the first shot as they encouraged a Red V Redout at Kogarah next Sunday afternoon.
The Sharks replied with their ‘Sea of Blue’ slogan, looking to get as many Cronulla fans, dressed in club colours, out to the game next weekend.
Look out for more social media salvos in the lead up to the big game.
To avoid disappointment Sharks fans wanting to go to the game shouldn’t delay, with a near capacity crowd expected.
The Sharks yesterday refuted reports fullback Michael Gordon had ‘walked out’ on the club after he was absent from training earlier in the day.
In the statement issued the Sharks expressed that Gordon was given leave to miss yesterday’s informal indoor training activity to deal with some personal issues before returning early next week.
To read the Sharks statement from yesterday, Tuesday, May 19 – CLICK HERE - http://www.sharks.com.au/news/2015/05/19/sharks_media_stateme.html