The Cronulla Sharks will be out to bounce back against the St George Illawarra Dragons in tomorrow’s Derby at UOW Jubilee Oval.
Having gone down to the Canberra Raiders 30-14 in our last start, the local derby will provide Shane Flanagan’s men the perfect opportunity to re-join the winner’s circle.
The last time the side’s met, the Sharks were emphatic victors, taking out the match 30-2 on a sunny Sunday afternoon in the Shire.
With plenty at stake for the Sharks in the Round 23 clash, Flanagan said he won’t be taking the struggling Dragons lightly and expects his side to come out firing.
“We’ve trained really hard, in two really good sessions this week,” Flanagan said.
“I expect a really dominant performance tomorrow night.”
Flanagan said that he had noticed a definite change in his players’ attitude this week following the loss to the Raiders, along with his own and he believes it will only benefit the side.
“Definitely the players’ attitudes have changed off the back of the loss.
“Obviously my attitude towards the players had changed and the intent and intensity of what we were doing this week, along with their attitude has changed so maybe people smarter than me have been through situations like these and seen those results turn around and it’s definitely changed our patterns and the way we’ve trained this week.”
The Dragons, who currently sit on 12th place on the NRL ladder have struggled to find points in 2016 however Flanagan said he would not let his opposition’s form dictate his team’s preparation.
“Side’s can bounce back from that (turmoil). You can’t control what’s gone on over there so we just need to control what we’re doing.
“We’ve had a really good week and we’re really looking forward to the game.”
Ricky Leutele will make his long-awaited return to the Sharks game day 17 as he trained with the NRL squad and will provide Shane Flanagan with much needed variety in attack.
In their last start, the Dragons went down to the Brisbane Broncos 12-8, in what was a rain-sodden affair at WIN Stadium last Thursday night.
The Sharks v Dragons match is scheduled for a 7:30pm kick off this Saturday night, with the NYC clash to begin at 5:15pm and gates to open at 5:00pm.
Key Match Up: Ben Barba v Josh Dugan
Two of the best in the business.
Both fullbacks will play a major part in their sides game plan’s tomorrow night, in both attack and defence.
Barba has been back to his best in season 2016, scoring 13 tries (Sharks equal 2nd most) along with leading the Club with 19 try assists and 76 tackle busts.
With a quiet display by Barba’s standards, expect a big one from the Sharks #1.
Dugan on the other hand returns to NRL action after breaking his jaw in State of Origin II.
The Dragons fullback is a class act and will be out to put his stamp on the 2016 season in his preferred fullback position.
Head-to-Head: Played 37, Dragons 18, Sharks 18, Drawn 1
At UOW Jubilee Oval: Played 8, Dragons 6, Sharks 2
Last 5 Meetings:
Round 2, 2016: Sharks 30 def. Dragons 2 @ Southern Cross Group Stadium
Round 18, 2015: Sharks 28 def. Dragons 8 @ Southern Cross Group Stadium
Round 12, 2015: Dragons 42 def. Sharks 6 @ UOW Jubilee Oval
Round 13, 2014: Dragons 30 def. Sharks 0 @ WIN Stadium
Round 3, 2014: Dragons 14 def. Sharks 12 @ Southern Cross Group Stadium
HTH: Sharks ($1.25) v Dragons ($4.15)
Line: Sharks -11.5 ($1.92) v Dragons +11.5 ($1.92)
First Try Scorer: Valentine Holmes ($6), Sosaia Feki ($8), Ben Barba ($9), Jack Bird ($13), Kurt Mann ($13), Jason Nightingale ($13).
*Prices quoted 16:00pm Friday, August 12. For the latest odds and more markets on the match, click here.