Having stormed into the top four on the back of six straight wins, the Sharks will be brimming with confidence when they take on an Origin-depleted South Sydney Rabbitohs side at ANZ Stadium.

The Sharks come into the match following their finest attacking performance of the year; a 48-10 demolition of the Newcastle Knights in which they scored nine tries.

Third-placed South Sydney has also been in sizzling touch recently, but is without a quartet of key players due to state representative honours - captain Greg Inglis, hooker Damien Cook, centre Dane Gagai and back-rower Angus Crichton.

On the other hand, the Sharks are virtually unaffected by Origin – losing only Valentine Holmes, who is capably replaced on the wing by 2016 premiership winner Sosaia Feki. Star prop Andrew Fifita also returns for Cronulla having missed last week's match.

Though there might be some fan and media enthusiasm swirling around the Sharks given their sensational winning streak, one man who refuses to get caught up in the hype is coach Shane Flanagan.

The Cronulla mentor isn't celebrating the team's successes over the past month and a half just yet, saying it counts for little against the Rabbitohs.

"We can't rest on our laurels," Flanagan said firmly. "What we've done in previous weeks doesn't give us any start this weekend."

And while his troops piled on the points last Sunday, it was the Sharks' work without the ball that impressed the head honcho most.

"I've been really happy with the way we've defended our try-line, and the (players') attitude is heading in the right direction."

It's that same defensive starch in the forwards that Flanagan believes will be crucial to Cronulla emerging victorious over South Sydney.

"It's a big job for us to control their middle, and if we can do that I'm sure that we can score some points on their edges."

After shining in the Newcastle victory with a career-high of six try assists, five-eighth Matt Moylan will play his 100th NRL game tonight. While Moylan is looking forward to the milestone, he's focussed on maintaining his newfound form.

"(I'm) starting to get going. I was obviously disappointed with my start (to the season), it wasn't the way I wanted to start the year at a new club," the prized off-season recruit admitted.

"But I feel like I'm improving each week and hopefully I can do the same this week."

Moylan said the Sharks weren't prepared to write South Sydney off despite their missing personnel and expected a tough battle.

"They've got guys that have been in their system and done a job for them before that are coming in," he said. "We're going to have to be on the ball and it's an important game for us to set up our season."

It was a sentiment echoed by hooker Jayden Brailey, who pointed to the hulking Souths forward pack as a challenge to contain.

"Every week's pretty tough but this week might be that little bit tougher against that big pack," he said. "(Sam, George and Tom Burgess) give them a lot of go-forward and they play their shapes off the back of their carries."

"We're going to have to be good on them and I'll have to bring my shoulder pads, I think."

With Cook called up to the NSW side, veteran rake Robbie Farah will line up opposite Brailey in the Rabbitohs No.9 jersey. Brailey grew up watching Farah and said he's excited at the prospect of competing against one of his influences.

"He's a different sort of player (to Cook), very crafty around the ruck as we all know. For me personally, I'm going to enjoy coming up against him and hopefully we get the win on the board."

Kick-off for the blockbuster match is at 7:55pm, with the ANZ Stadium gates opening at 6:10pm.

Tale of the tape

Head to head
Games played – 89
Sharks – 45 wins
Rabbitohs – 38 wins, three draws

At the venue
Played – 13
Sharks – 10 wins
Rabbitohs – 3 wins

Last result
Sharks won 26-12 at Southern Cross Group Stadium, 2017

 

 

NRL Team List – Round 13
Sharks v Rabbitohs
Friday, June 1
ANZ Stadium
Kick-off – 7.50pm
1- Josh Dugan
2- Sosaia Feki
3- Jesse Ramien
4- Ricky Leutele
5- Edrick Lee
6- Matt Moylan
7- Chad Townsend
8- Andrew Fifita
9- Jayden Brailey
10- Matt Prior
11- Luke Lewis
12- Wade Graham
13- Paul Gallen
Interchange
14- Joseph Paulo
15- James Segeyaro
16- Ava Seumanufagai
17- Jayson Bukuya
18- Kurt Capewell
20- Sione Katoa