NYC Preview – Sharks v Titans
Sharks coach John Morris will be stressing two things to his NYC squad in the lead up to their game this week.
The first message will be to forget their lofty position on top of the Holden Cup ladder and to concentrate on the task at hand, as impressive as they have been through the previous 18 rounds.
The second will be to prepare for a Titans side, playing on home turf and on the back of two victories before a bye, set to present a much tougher challenge than when the two teams met back in round eight.
On that occasion, it was all Sharks, confidence riding high, who crossed for nine tries and racked up a half century of points in a 52-16 triumph.
This time around the young Sharks will face a Titans squad in a confident frame of mind themselves, a team that has moved into seventh position on the competition table following a gritty win against the second-placed St George Illawarra Dragons two weeks ago.
However, in addition to the obvious quality in their ranks in the Sharks favour is the fact that Morris has enjoyed the luxury of trotting out a stable and settled line up.
One change to the team however sees skipper Jack Williams missing through injury, his place at five eighth will be taken by the versatile Bessie Aufaga-Tooaga who returns to the NYC squad after playing the past few matches with the Sharks Intrust Super Premiership partner club the Newtown Jets.
Understandably considering they are three points clear on top of the NYC ladder, the Sharks have the leading point scorer in Kyle Flanagan (238), the top try scorer in Sione Katoa (16), while Williams (24) and hooker Blayke Brialey (20) are one and two on the most try assists statistic.
Katoa also leads the tackle breaks (177) and Billy Magoulias the off-loads category (44).
But all the numbers mean nothing come Saturday evening, with the Sharks needing to bring their best if they hope to return home from the Gold Coast with another two competition points.
The Sharks v Titans NYC match is scheduled for a 5.15pm kick-off at CBUS Super Stadium.
Morris has trimmed his initial 23-man squad back to 20, with a final decision as to his 17-player team for Saturday’s match to be revealed one-hour before the game gets underway.
See the Sharks team list below.
NYC Team List – Round 19
Sharks v Titans
Saturday, July 15
Kick-off – 5.15pm
1 William KENNEDY
2 Sione KATOA
3 Isaac LUMELUME
4 Joshua TUILAGI
5 Johnathan TUFUGA
19 Bessie AUFAGA-TOOMAGA
7 Kyle FLANAGAN
8 Ryan KING
9 Blayke BRAILEY
10 Brock ILETT
11 Briton NIKORA
12 Tony MATAUTIA
13 Billy MAGOULIAS
14 Eddie FAALUA
15 Zachary FAULKNER
16 Joshua CARR
17 Jackson FERRIS
18 Lane FERLING
21 Luke METCALF
22 Fine KULA