Prior up for the challenge

Cronulla Sharks prop Matt Prior is confident his side can outgun the fearsome Sydney Roosters forward pack during Saturday night's much-anticipated qualifying final.

Led by hitman Victor Radley, skipper Boyd Cordner and front-rowers Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Sio Siua Taukeiaho, the Roosters forwards were a big reason why the Bondi club took out the minor premiership.

They got the edge over the Sharks' big men when the teams clashed in round five, with the Tricolours running out 28-10 winners on that occasion.

Cronulla has lifted considerably since then and Prior says the team is up for the challenge this time around.

"They've got such a good forward pack – we've just got to meet them in the middle and do our job," Prior said.

"That will give our outside backs and halves a chance to create some opportunities."

As he's done all season, Prior will be expected to lead from the front against the Roosters.

The 31-year-old's game has gone to another level this year and he was rewarded for his performances with a NSW debut in State of Origin II.

While Prior is pleased with his personal form, he believes there's still room for improvement.

"I feel like my form has been pretty good all year. I've been pretty consistent. It could be better but I'm still happy with how I'm going," he said.

Prior is among Cronulla's most experienced campaigners when it comes to playoff football, having played in seven finals series and won two premierships.

But although he's experienced the big stage plenty of times before, he says the finals always bring about a major buzz.

"It's not just another week. There's the excitement and the build-up that goes with the finals," he said.

"That plays a big part in your preparation and how you feel about the game. I'm just excited."

A win on Saturday will not only put the Sharks just 80 minutes away from the Grand Final, but give them a week off – something Prior knows will be extremely valuable.

"I think it'd be good. We can obviously rest some little niggles and little injuries and freshen up for the next game," he said.

"It'd be nice but if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen."

Prior's sights may be firmly set on the Roosters at the moment, but he desperately wants to add a third premiers ring to his collection in a few weeks.

"It'll be awesome, I'll be over the moon. It's what you play for; there are 16 teams all gunning for it so it's a massive honour to get it."