KEY MATCH-UPS | Sharks v Sea Eagles
By Liam Tapper
THE FIVE-EIGHTHS | Jack Bird v Kieran Foran
Jack Bird has had a significant impact on the NRL since his debut in Round 4 this year however he will face another major test in his short career when he takes on Kiwi international Kieran Foran.
The Sea Eagles five-eighth has cemented himself as one of the premier play-makers in the game and even though his 2015 season has been quiet to date by his standards, Foran is a proven performer at the business end of the season.
In his last start Bird was contained by the Cowboys who made it their purpose to shut down his running on the edges throughout the game. Having been denied the chance to prove himself against an international playmaker last weekend in Jonathan Thurston, Bird will be eager to measure himself against one of the best in the business in Foran this Sunday.
THE PROPS | Andrew Fifita v Jake Trbojevic
Andrew Fifita will again lead the Sharks charge, bringing his mixture of brute strength and attacking flair to Brookvale Oval when his team takes on the Sea Eagles on Sunday.
Even though sitting in last place on the NRL Ladder, the Sea Eagles have been buoyed by the lively presence of Trbojevic in the middle of the park this season. The strapping young prop-forward has given the Manly pack plenty of go-forward in 2015 and will again look to provide some much needed power up front.
After missing out on selection for the third and final State of Origin next Wednesday, Fifita will be looking to prove his doubters wrong and produce another big performance this weekend.
THE BACK-ROWERS | Wade Graham v Tom Symonds
Sharks stand-in skipper Wade Graham will play his 100th game in the Black, White and Blue this weekend and is sure to be looking to produce a performance to remember at Brookvale.
Graham has been one of the Sharks most consistent performers this season combining his solid edge running and high work rate in taking his game to a new level in 2015. Graham is the leading one-on-one tackler for the Sharks line-up this season and will look to add to his tally of 44 in Sunday’s clash with their fierce rivals.
Symonds has been used by Geoff Toovey this year as an edge running back-rower, one who also possesses some clever ball skills. It is this soft touch that has seen him cover the five-eighth role in Kieran Foran’s absence in 2015 and will make the Sharks defence wary during Sunday’s match.