Big challenge for NYC Sharks
A fifth win from five starts understandably has the NYC Sharks in a confident frame of mind however they will have a challenge on their hands when they host the defending under-20’s premiers and the current competition leading Penrith Panthers this Sunday.
The young Sharks were outstanding in beating the Canberra Raiders by 36-6 last start, a win built on some desperate and resolute defence.
The Sharks never gave the Raiders a chance, shutting them out completely until a near-length of the field try in the last play of the match broke the home teams duck.
The win came about due to the entire team carrying out their roles as planned however there were a couple of standouts on the day, with Coach John Morris needing similar efforts this week against a large and skilful Penrith side.
Jayden Mcdonogh was one who would have pleased the coach last week, the lock running for 137 metres while also making 23 tackles, winger Sione Katoa continues to impress, with halves Jack Williams and Rhys Davies controlling the game well.
Hooker and captain Jayden Brailey was again amongst his teams’ best in the Canberra win and despite playing one less game than his opponents due to a round three wash-out, features prominently in a number of NYC statistical categories.
But as well as the Sharks may performed individually at GIO Stadium in Canberra, it was their 80 per cent completion rate which enabled them to dominate the ball and the field position, with a similar performance required this week should they hope to be successful against the Panthers.
Penrith arrive at Southern Cross Group Stadium on the back of a 50-4 shellacking of the previously second-paced Sydney Roosters in their previous match and sit alone at the top of the Holden Cup ladder following six wins and just one loss in the first seven rounds.
Robert Jennings, brother of NSW and Australian rep Michael, along with Nathan Cleary, son of former Panthers boss Ivan, are two of Penrith’s attacking weapons the Sharks will need to keep in check.
The Sharks v Panthers Holden Cup match is scheduled for an 11.45am kick-off at Southern Cross Group Stadium on Sunday.