KEY MATCH-UPS | Sharks vs Eels
The Sharks and Eels will square off for the first time in over a year this Saturday when the Cronulla side travels west. Here are the match-ups that will go along way in seeing the respective player’s sides home with the two competition points.
THE WINGERS | Valentine Holmes v Semi Radradra
Valentine Holmes will play his first match as an NRL player at Parramatta this weekend, and will without doubt be looking to continue his recent run of form against an Eels outfit buoyed by a last-start win at Brookvale.
Holmes ran in two tries against the Tigers, and now sits just three tries shy of David Peachey’s Club record for most tries in a year.
A man who knows all about crossing for four-pointers, Semi Radradra, will be out to thwart Holmes’ efforts while continuing his own charge towards the title of the season’s most prolific try scorer.
The ‘Semi trailer’ has crossed for 21 tries already in 2015, and has scored 2 in as many career games against the Sharks. Boasting a phenomenal career record, the Fijian has run in 45 tries from his 47 career starts at an unbelievable strike rate that the great man Ken Irvine would be proud of.
Holmes will be in for a real challenge this Saturday afternoon – but be assured the 20-year-old won’t be taking any backward steps.
THE HOOKERS | Michael Ennis v Isaac De Gois
Former Shark Isaac De Gois played 106 games at the Cronulla Club before heading down the M4 to find a new home at the Eels in 2014.
The move – coupled with the retirement of NRL 300-gamer John Morris – paved the way for Michael Ennis to sign with the Sharks, and the 31-year-old has made a smooth transition into the Cronulla fold.
Ennis has laid on 14 try assists, and has run in two tries of his own, including a decisive effort against the Tigers at Remondis Stadium last weekend.
With two very different styles of play, Ennis’ wit and craft – contrasted by the nuggetty De Gois’ work rate in defence – will go a long way in assisting their side’s efforts come Saturday afternoon.
The Shark is tipped to again play a major hand in his side’s push on Saturday.
THE BACK ROWERS | Wade Graham v Tepai Moeroa
Cronulla vice-captain Wade Graham will this week play his 150th NRL match, having played his 100th game as a Shark in Round 17 against Manly at Brookvale.
Try-less after 21 Rounds this season, Graham has scored two tries in his last three matches, including a bash-and-barge solo effort against the Cowboys in Round 22.
The ball-playing back rower has laid on 4 try assists this season, and 5 line breaks across all matches in 2015. Yet to miss a match this season, the iron-man Graham will be out to cap his milestone match in a winning way.
Graham’s opposite number, the 19-year-old Tepai Moeroa, will prove a tough task to contain when he runs out against the Sharks on Saturday.
The 111kg, 190cm giant will be running hard and straight at the Cronulla right-edge defenders, with Jack Bird and Luke Lewis set to be put on notice.