Key Match-Up: Maloney v Milford
Sharks five-eighth James Maloney will face no tougher personal challenge this season than when he squares off with Broncos number six Anthony Milford on Sunday afternoon.
Maloney – now settled and beginning to show his best form in Sharks colours – has crossed for three tries inside his last four starts, and will be hopeful of continuing the trend against the Brisbane outfit.
Renowned for his point-scoring ability, Maloney has notched 72 points (3rd in the NRL) inside his 8 games as a Shark (9 points per game), in rediscovering the form that saw him earn the title of the game’s leading scorer in 2015.
Maloney is set for a tough afternoon at the office on Sunday, with the Broncos’ left edge sure to test his defence.
The Sharks pivot has missed more tackles than any other player in the NRL thus far, with Milford, Jack Reed and Corey Oates poised to ask plenty of the Sharks right edge in their time without the ball
Fast Fact: Maloney has only once scored a hat-trick of tries in an NRL match, coming versus the Broncos (Round 3, 2010)
Milford too can expect a tough time from the Sharks on Sunday, having missed 22 tackles (2nd most at Broncos) after 8 games – watch for the Sharks’ right-edge in Chad Townsend, Luke Lewis, Jack Bird and Valentine Holmes to send plenty of traffic Milford’s way.
That said, Broncos fans would be quick to pardon Milford’s misses as he has more than made up for them when the Steeden rests in his hands.
Milford has crossed for 8 tries in as many games (a club best), from 6 linebreaks (3rd at Broncos), having assisted in 10 other busts of the opposition line (2nd in the NRL).
The Sharks will go a long way to shutting down the Broncos attack by limiting Milford’s time on the ball – but that has proved a task too tough for many a team already in season 2016.
Fast Fact: Anthony Milford has a try-scoring strike rate no better than that of when playing the Sharks (5 tries from 4 matches @ 1.25 tries per game)