The Sharks return to the Shire tonight looking to make amends for their first-round loss. We take a look at some of the key match-ups that could help to decide the Derby.
Jayden Brailey vs Cameron McInnes
Two very different outcomes last week for these two. McInnes will be riding the highs of an impressive first round victory, whilst Brailey will be looking to start his home game campaign off with a solid win and bounce back from a tough first round defeat.
Both are a part of new looks spines in 2018 and come off the back of decent 2017 seasons. After last week’s cob webs have been blown out, expect Brailey to come out firing in front of his home crowd for the first local derby of the year.
Whoever can get their big men motoring forward, providing plenty of space for their backs, will go a long way to winning this one.
Matt Moylan vs Gareth Widdop
Both of these men have new partners alongside them in 2018, with Moylan looking to spark the Sharks attack and Widdop seeming to gel well from the outset.
High profile recruit Matt Moylan showed glimpses of his brilliance in last week’s loss to the Cowboys and will be looking to hit the ground running at Southern Cross Group Stadium for his first official home game in Sharks colours.
There’s no doubt that when the Sharks new halves get their combinations right, the backline that includes internationals Dugan, Holmes and Leutele will be one of the best in the competition.
Gareth Widdop and his new halves partner Ben Hunt got off to the best possible start to 2018, firing their side to a season-opening win against the Broncos.
The Sharks backs have been working hard this week to right some wrongs, expect Moylan to shine in front of a vocal home crowd.
Jayson Bukuya vs Tyson Frizell
Two physical forwards from big packs, set to go head to head tonight in the local derby.
Brought in to the starting side late last week in his 150th NRL match, Jayson Bukuya made the most of his opportunity, running hard and rock-solid in defence. Quick on his feet ‘Boogs’ is sure to trouble the big men in the middle with his nifty speed and footwork.
Test forward Frizell is a part of the new look pack for the Dragons in 2018, one with a fair bit of size and physicality. The Dragons pack ran riot against the Broncos last week and the Sharks will be looking to contain them on home soil.
These two will be looking to lay the platform for their sides. Traditionally the local derby clashes are always good battles, and tonight should be no different.