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Round 14 Key Match-Ups

This afternoon's clash between the Sharks and the Tigers shapes as a crucial one, as both sides look to cement themselves in the top half the ladder for the run home.

The Sharks have scored the first try in the past four matches between these two, and the attack will need to fire as interestingly enough, the side to score first on 24 of the last 29 match ups has gone on to win the game.

Let's take a look at a handful of individual battles that will be crucial to the result when the Sharks take on the Tigers this afternoon.

Matt Moylan v Benji Marshall

Fans of both sides will be keen to see how this one pans out this afternoon.

Matt Moylan showed Sharks fans just how dangerous he can be in attack two weeks ago, with the Sharks No.6 handing his side five line break assists and six try assists in a brilliant display of playmaking that absolutely blew the Knights away.

That display meant Moylan joins Daly Cherry Evans in 2014 and Cooper Cronk in 2012 as the only players to record six try assists in a game since 2002.

The Sharks in general failed to fire last week, but Moylan will be looking to bounce back this week against the Tigers and his opposite number in Marshall.

A lot of people put Benji on the scrap pile before the 2018 season begun, but he clearly blocked out the noise, producing some outstanding performances for Wests so far this year.

Who wins the battle of the playmakers will be crucial to the result today.

 

Paul Gallen v Matt Eisenhuth

It's a family affair this afternoon with a battle between cousins, Paul Gallen and Matt Eisenhuth, set to ignite in the middle of the park.

The Cronulla co-captain has had an interrupted start to 2018, with injury seeing him only run out for nine appearances so far. But he's an experienced campaigner and continues to plough through the metres and get the hard work done in defence.

Eisenhuth said he used to call Gallen for advice and information as he tried to plot his rugby league career after high school.

He debuted against the Sharks, and his cousin Gal, back in Round 15 of last year, and he hasn't missed a game since.

A young forward that can play anywhere from prop to lock, Eisenhuth has become a key member of the Tigers squad.

Forget the flashy plays, both Gallen and Eisenhuth are all about putting in the hard yards, and will be instrumental in the success or otherwise of their respective teams this afternoon.

 

Valentine Holmes vs Tui Lolohea

Those who have experienced it say that backing up from Origin is one of the hardest things to do as a footballer.

With a few extra days to recover when compared to some of his counterparts, the young gun Valentine Holmes should be ready to rumble.

The 22-year old has achieved nearly everything there is to achieve in the NRL, and there's no doubting the fact that no matter where he plays, he's an absolute superstar now and for years to come.

Electric on his feet, with speed to burn and dazzling footwork, the Sharks No. 1 has found some great form of late, and carried that in to a solid performance for the Maroons last Wednesday.

His opponent on the other hand, Tui Lolohea, has been in and out of the top grade so far in 2018, missing a fair chunk of the season with a knee injury.

He started in the number one jersey in round one and will be looking to put in a solid performance against the Sharks in order to hold on to the jersey.

Who wins the battle of the No. 1's will be crucial to the result today.