On the back of a narrow loss to the Warriors the NYC Sharks face another of the competition heavyweights this weekend when they tackle the third-placed Parramatta Eels at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
The Sharks staged a remarkable second half revival against the Warriors, fighting back from a 30-6 deficit to come within two points midway through the period, however it turned out to be too little too late, with the Kiwis holding on for a 36-32 win.
The loss saw the Sharks slip from fifth to seventh on the competition ladder, making this Saturday night and the clash with the Eels a crucial one in terms of their finals aspirations, even more so when considering they play the Panthers, Roosters and Knights, three teams inside the top eight, in their next three matches.
Should they hope to bounce back the Sharks will need to put together an 80-minute performance against an Eels side sitting comfortably in third position.
While the Sharks are coming off the Warriors loss the Eels will arrive fresh and rested after enjoying the bye in round 16.
Helping the Sharks cause this week will be the return of five eighth Jack Williams, with the local De La Salle and Endeavour High junior missing the last two matches.
With Williams out Coach John Morris has been forced to use make-shift halves, with Billy Magoulias and Jayden Brailey sharing the five eighth spot in recent weeks. Both return to their more familiar roles for the Eels game.
Brailey has been one of the shining lights for the Sharks during 2016 and features heavily in a number of the NYC’s statistical categories, including try assists, with his 17 for the season ranking second in the competition.
Former Australian schoolboys prop Daniel Vasquez also returns to the Sharks 17-man team, adding some starch in the middle of the paddock.
Backrower Tyrell Fuimaono and half back Troy Dargan are two Eels players who will need to be closely watched on Saturday night.
The Sharks v Eels NYC match is scheduled to get underway at 5.15pm, with gates to Southern Cross Group Stadium to open at 5.00pm.