Round 12 Key Match Ups

Dugan v Ponga

It's the old bull, against the emerging star when Josh Dugan and Kalyn Ponga go head to head at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.

Dugan might not appreciate the 'old' tag, however he is certainly an experienced campaigner, both in the fullback position and as a centre for NSW and Australia, with his strong running of the football a feature of his game.

Injury has derailed his season somewhat, however Dugan was solid against the Bulldogs and will be better for the run when the Sharks travel to Newcastle this weekend.

His opponent in Ponga on the other hand is one of the new poster boys of the NRL.

Electric on his feet, with speed to burn and dazzling footwork, the Sharks kick-chase will need to be spot on to limit his effectiveness.

Who wins the battle of the number 1's will be crucial to the result on Sunday.

Gallen v Guerra

Two experienced campaigners in Paul Gallen and Aiden Guerra will reignite a rivalry that extended from club football into the State of Origin arena when the pair come face-to-face in the middle of the field this weekend.

Gallen continues to plough through the metres and get the hard work done in defence, with Guerra, an old head and the steadying influence in a young Newcastle side, also assigned to do the tough stuff for the Knights.

Chances are they won't be making the flashy plays or topping the try-scoring lists, but both Gallen and Guerra will be instrumental in the success or otherwise of their respective teams come Sunday.

Graham  v Barnett

It has been a frustrating period for the Sharks Co-Captain Wade Graham, with a nagging hamstring injury keeping him sidelined for the best part of the last month.

Knights backrower Mitch Barnett on the other hand has managed to play 10 of the 11 games in 2018 for the Knights and in switching from a middle forward to an edge player, has been equally effective in both roles.

This week the pair are set to lock horns, with Graham on the Sharks left and Barnett lining up on the Newcastle right, with their battle likely to be a physical one between two forwards who both play an aggressive style of rugby league.

Graham will be hoping to use the game as a final audition for a NSW Origin berth, while Barnett will be equally determined not to let the Sharks second-rower shine.