So as to not fall into the ‘mathematically possible’ but highly unlikely category when it comes to playing finals football, the NYC Sharks face a must-win game when they take on the Bulldogs at Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday.
The Sharks have been on the end of narrow losses and are regretting a number of missed opportunities during the 2015 regular season however that being said a win over the Bulldogs will see them remain in the running for a top eight berth with six more matches to be played.
While going down by 24-22 to the Raiders down in Canberra, the young Sharks showed enough good signs to suggest they are well and truly up to the task against a Canterbury side that began slowly this year but is now finding some of their most consistent form.
While the Sharks fell just short in a 24-22 loss to the Raiders the Bulldogs were battling out a close game of their own against the Eels, with two teams locked at 16-all at the fulltime siren.
The fact that the Bulldogs scored four tries and were unable to land a single conversion signals they were perhaps somewhat unlucky to only draw the match and not claim both competition points last weekend, meaning they will be keen to make amends against the Sharks on Sunday.
Despite their last-start loss Sharks Coach James Shepherd has restricted the changes to his team, with returning forwards Anthony Moraitis and Alec Susino to two notable additions. Both were missing in Canberra due to injury and the pair are sure to add experience and firepower to the Cronulla pack.
In the backs Ryan Cummins returns in the number one jersey after also being absent for the Raiders game, with Josh Addo-Carr reverting from fullback to the wing.
Five players, including Keenan Yorston, Curtis Scott, Jesse Savage, Jaiden Brown and Billy Magoulias, all members of the Sharks SG Ball team this year, have retained their positions in the NYC team for Sunday’s game.
The Sharks go into the match in 13th place on the NYC ladder on 17 competition points, only one point but three positions in arrears of the Bulldogs who are 10th. The top eight is rounded out by the Roosters and Tigers, in seventh and eighth places, on 20 points.
A win this weekend could see the Sharks climb to as high as 10th, however a loss will likely see them fall from finals contention.
The Sharks v Bulldogs NYC match is scheduled to get underway at 1.45pm at Belmore on Sunday.
The NYC Sharks are proudly sponsored by Southside Pharmacy at Miranda and beginning last week as back of jersey sponsor, by current Sharks NRL partner Coates Hire.