AKL9’S | Day 2 Preview
Following a successful opening to the NRL Auckland Nines for the Sharks, a day on which they recorded victories over the Gold Coast Titans and local-rivals the St George Illawarra Dragons, the possibilities are endless going into the second and final day.
The Sharks kicked-off their campaign with a 23-12 victory over the Gold Coast Titans, before beating the Dragons 17-8 in a match that featured a mix of controversy and excitement.
Ben Barba and Jack Bird have been outstanding in the two outings for the Sharks, however there have been plenty of willing contributors in the two wins with youngsters Kurt Capewell, Josh Cleeland, Jordan Drew and Matt McIlwrick, in their first games in Cronulla colours more than holding their own.
Today the Sharks take on the Canberra Raiders in their final Piha pool match at 1:30pm NZ (11:30am AEDT) in a game that has the potential to dictate the rankings heading into the quarter finals.
The Sharks v Raiders clash is the final pool game of the 2016 Nines competition, with coach Shane Flanagan sure to be keeping a keen eye on the result of the Titans and Dragons match before declaring his team.
A win to the Dragons will ensure the Sharks move through to the quarter finals, however a Titans victory has the potential to leave the Cronulla squad needing a win, or at least a narrow loss to progress to the next stage of the competition.
The Sharks currently sit top of the pool with +20 point difference after their two victories, while the Titans (even points differential) and Raiders (+3) have one win each and nothing short of a win would see them move on.
All three teams in the Sharks, Raiders and Titans could potentially finish on two wins, with two qualifiers coming down to those points differentials.
From there, the two teams moving on from the Piha Pool play the two qualifiers from the Hunua Pool.
After day one the Manly Sea Eagles lead this pool, with the Bulldogs and the home town Warriors fighting for the second finals berth.
The number one ranked team from Piha plays the second placed Hunua team.
The quarter finals are scheduled for 3:05pm and 3:30pm NZ (1:05pm and 1:30pm AEDT)
Be sure to catch all the action with fellow Sharks fans at the Sharks Leagues Club today with all games telecast in the Locker Room, Main Bar or on the Big Screen in the Summertime Bar