R25 NYC Holden Cup Cronulla Sharks vs Sydney Roosters at Southern Cross Group Stadium. Picture : NRL Photos/Gregg Porteous

With the three teams just one point ahead of them on the NYC ladder playing higher ranked opponents in round 26, there is every chance the Holden Cup Knights can sneak into the top eight with a win on Sunday.

The Knights are on 29 points, the Sea Eagles, Rabbitohs and Broncos are on 30, with any slip up from that trio opening the door for the Novocastrians.

Only problem with that scenario is the team they need to beat is the runaway minor premiers in the Cronulla Sharks, a team that managed to string 15 wins together and sits nine points clear at the top of the NYC ladder.

Beaten 26-18 by the Roosters last Saturday night, the Sharks will be determined not to head into the finals on the back of two consecutive losses and intent on regaining some momentum before the big games ahead.

The Sharks met a desperate Roosters team last weekend and coupled with a performance littered with some uncharacteristic errors were unable to match their opponents, with the loss their first since round four and only their third of the 2017 season.

They did however have a chance to make amends but it won’t be easy against a Knights team that stayed in the finals race with a one-point win over Canberra in round 25.

And in emphasising the fact the Sharks won’t have it their own way, the Knights pushed them all the way in their previous encounter in round five, the young Cronulla side winning 32-22 at Southern Cross Group Stadium in a hard-fought encounter.

Despite their place on top of the competition table being assured, coach John Morris has named his strongest possible line-up for Sunday’s match, with the absence of Tony Matautia, injured in the loss to the Roosters, the only significant change.

Versatile forward Josh Carr comes into the Sharks starting side in his place.

Having wrapped up the top seed, the Sharks will be waiting on the outcome of the weekend of matches before knowing their round one finals opponent. Depending on results the Dragons, Cowboys and Eels are the most likely to finish fourth and play the Sharks.  

The Sharks v Knights match is scheduled for an 11.45am kick-off at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle on Sunday. Fox Sports will televise the match.

 

NYC Team List – Round 26
Sharks v Knights
Sunday, September 3
McDonald Jones Stadium
Kick-off – 11.45am

1 William KENNEDY
2 Sione KATOA
3 Isaac LUMELUME
4 Jesse RAMIEN
5 Josh TUILAGI
6 Luke METCALF
7 Kyle FLANAGAN
8 Ryan KING
9 Blayke BRAILEY
10 Daniel VASQUEZ
11 Briton NIKORA
12 Joshua CARR
13 Billy MAGOULIAS ©
Interchange
14 Eddie FAALUA
15 Zachary FAULKNER
16 Bessie AUFAGA-TOOMAGA
17 James Roumanos
19 Teig WILTON
21 Luke JURD
23 Clayton Uia