Finals come early for NYC Sharks
They’ve confirmed their place in the finals now the NYC Sharks will receive an early test of their premiership credentials when they host the third-placed Sydney Roosters on Saturday night.
The Sharks edged out the South Sydney Rabbitohs last Monday night to not only book their place in the Final Series but in moving to 31 competition points they now have an opportunity to push for a top-four berth with a victory this weekend.
In difficult conditions the Sharks showed plenty of character to beat the Rabbitohs, with skipper Jayden Brailey limping from the field with a quarter of the match remaining, leaving them without a specialist hooker, while strong running back rower Jayden Walker was carried off with an ankle injury late in the match, meaning his team played one man short for what was a frantic final five minutes after previously using up all their interchanges.
In some good news for the young Sharks both Brailey and Walker were cleared of serious injury and are expected to be on deck for the crucial clash with the Roosters tomorrow.
The task however will be a difficult one for the Sharks against a formidable Roosters line up boasting a wealth of young talent.
Jackson Hastings at fullback, Joseph Manu in the centres and hooker Grant Garvey have all tasted the NRL, while five eighth Lachlan Lam represented the Australian Schoolboys earlier this year and is another player for the Sharks to keep a close eye on.
But rather focus too much on the opposition, Sharks Coach John Morris will be confident of a positive result if he gets similar strong contributions from the likes of Sione Katoa, Josh Tuilagi, Isaac Lumelume, Lachland Stein and fullback Will Kennedy, with the Sharks back five in outstanding form of late.
Up front rangy prop Tepa Fuiavailili has been a consistent improver and Jesse Savage provides plenty of impact when entering the game from the interchange bench.
With a win on Saturday the Sharks can go as high third on the NYC ladder, while a loss could see them slip back to seventh, making this perhaps their most important game of the 2016 season.
The Sharks v Roosters NYC match has been brought forward 15 minutes and will now get underway at 5.00pm, with the ground-breaking Women’s Nines match featuring teams representing the Sharks and Dragons following at the conclusion of the Holden Cup clash.