Round 19 Key Match-Ups

Over the last 10 matches the Sharks and Raiders have battled out, the away team has emerged victorious, a trend the Sharks will be hoping to buck tonight.

It's always been a tight tussle in the Shire, with the past five matches played at Southern Cross Group Stadium between the two decided by eight points or less.

The Sharks got one over the green machine back in round 10 at GIO Stadium, showing plenty of courage to respond and fight back from a half time deficit to record a gritty 24-16 win in the cold of Canberra.

The Sharks showed the depth of talent at their disposal that night, with five of their most experienced players sitting on the sideline.

The tables have turned this week with the Raiders hit hard by injury, and they'll be hoping the depth in their squad will shine as they look to keep their faint finals hopes alive.

Let's take a look at three of the key match-ups which will play a big part in the result of tonight's match.

 

Jayden Brailey vs Josh Hodgson

A very important player in the Sharks pack is young bull Jayden Brailey.

Somewhat of a quiet achiever, Brailz' crisp service and strong defensive efforts are something Sharks fans have come to admire.

Never one to shy away from the occasion, Brailey is an extremely reliable number nine that has a huge role to play if the Sharks are going to push for not only a win tonight, but a premiership this year.

He has a tough challenge this week as he faces off against Josh Hodgson, a man that was missing from the Raiders pack back in round 10 through injury.

Upon his return Hodgson made an immediate impact to the way the Raiders worked their way around the field.

He's the lynchpin to much of their attack and they'll be looking to him tonight to steer the green machine to victory.

 

Paul Gallen vs Josh Papalii

It was a massive effort last week from the Skipper, battling a nasty virus he still took to the field to do his part for the side.

Gal was one of those missing from the Sharks pack back in round 10, and he'll be keen to do battle with Papalii tonight on home soil.

It's a match-up fans from both sides truly enjoy.

Former Australian teammates and State of Origin enemies, an old-fashioned feud that use to exist between the two has morphed into an off-field friendship that will extend well beyond their playing years.

The two big boppers are full of respect for one another and will be out to get physical in tonight's battle through the middle.

They'll both take the hard carries to lay the platform for their side in the opening exchanges, and whoever can lay claim to winning the battle of the big men will go a long way to helping their side gain the all-important two competition points on offer.

 

Jesse Ramien vs Joey Leilua

The Sharks welcome back boom rookie Jesse Ramien for tonight's contest, as he slots back in at centre where he will square off against the formidable Joey Leilua.

Jesse had been on fire for the Sharks before a minor setback last week saw him miss the clash with Penrith. The extra week's rest could prove a masterstroke come the end of the season.

Back in action and ready to rumble, Ramien will look to continue his consistent displays of speed and strength that have resulted in him scoring a try in each of his last six appearances.

His opposite number in Leilua has had somewhat of a mixed season so far.

A big body with plenty of skill to match, Jesse will know exactly what he is capable of and will look to shut him down early to limit his space.

An important task given the man on his outside is the rampaging Rapana.

 

Will tonight's match follow the script of the away side working their way to a hard-fought victory? Or will the Sharks continue their charge for the top four with a hoodoo breaking victory on home soil?

The Sharks v Raiders clash is scheduled for a 6.00pm kick off at Southern Cross Group Stadium, with a Jersey Flegg curtain raiser between the Sharks and Eels getting the afternoon underway at 3.35pm.

You can watch the Jersey Flegg match live on our Facebook page from 3.35pm