The Cronulla Sharks this weekend head into an all-important clash with the Penrith Panthers, looking to continue their recent run of good form.
And while four successive wins has the side well positioned on the NRL ladder, the victories in weeks now gone stand for little, as the Panthers head up a challenge that will be sure to test the Sharks in every fashion come Sunday afternoon.
What the Coach’s have said:
Coach Shane Flanagan on Friday told the media that he’s wary of a Panthers side that will without doubt be intent on walking away with an upset win on Sunday.
"It's been well documented how competitive (Penrith have) been, the games that they've lost, it's only been less than a try on some occasions. We need to be on our best form on Sunday, back at home."
Wary of the good form and the potency of Penrith's Matt Moylan, Bryce Cartwright and Jamie Soward, Flanagan said his side is in for a test come Sunday afternoon.
"It's not just going to come naturally ... They're a really good footy team, and they present a lot of defensive challenges, too.”
Panthers Coach Anthony Griffin meanwhile has urged his men to take confidence from their last-start win, but to be aware that the Sharks pose a greater threat from 1-through-17 than the Roosters on Monday night.
The Key Match-Up: Wade Graham & Bryce Cartwright
The Sharks’ Wade Graham and the Panthers’ Bryce Cartwright this weekend go head-to-head in a battle of wide-running, hard-hitting, skilful back-rowers.
Cut from the same cloth, Graham and Cartwright will square off on their side’s left and right edges respectively – and their work done both in, and out of possession, will set the tone for their team’s successes on Sunday afternoon.
The Tale of the Tape:
Head-to-head, the Sharks have won three of the last five matches played between the teams, although the Panthers proved too good the last time the sides met.
At Southern Cross Group Stadium, the Sharks have also won three of the last five matches played.
The Punters’ Picks*: Odds provided by CrownBet
Head-to-Head: Sharks ($1.51), Panthers ($2.60)
Line: Sharks -5.5 ($1.92), Panthers +5.5 ($1.92)
Margin: Sharks 1-12 ($3.05), Sharks 13+ ($2.80), Panthers 1-12 ($3.90), Panthers 13+ ($6.50)
First Try Scorer: Valentine Holmes ($8.50), Ben Barba ($11), Dallin Watene-Zelezniak ($11), Josh Mansour ($11)
*Odds quoted 10:30am (AEDST) Saturday, April 23. For the latest odds and more markets, Click HERE.