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Sharks tackle Souths in season opener

The Sharks will be looking to buck a worrying trend when they tackle Souths at ANZ Stadium in their season-opener tomorrow night.

Winless in their past six game one matches, the Sharks face a Souths side which added former Rooster Latrell Mitchell during the off-season, however following a full off-season under the guidance of coach John Morris, are confident of a strong first up showing.

“I think we’ve got a new-look squad, a youthful squad and all the players taking the field tomorrow night have earned their jumper,” Morris said. “Whoever worked the hardest has been rewarded, that’s been my theme all pre-season, the boys have trialled well, they’re fit, keen and ready to go.”

The Sharks head into their opening match unveiling a team with a different look to the one which bowed out of the race last year in the second week of the finals, with Jesse Ramien returning in the centres, Blayke Brailey at hooker and Jack Williams in the famous Cronulla 13 jersey a few of the team changes.

For Ramien it is a happy homecoming after a disappointing season in Newcastle in 2019, Brailey comes in for brother Jayden who has made the move to the Knights, while Williams has won the starting lock position following an outstanding pre-season campaign and solid form in the trials.

Also, for the Sharks, the game will represent a special milestone for prop Toby Rudolf, while Connor Tracey is back at the Sharks and is set to play his first top grade match in Cronulla colours.

“We’ve got some individual things to celebrate, Toby Rudolf making his NRL debut, Connor Tracey, a local junior, a De La junior, making his club debut and Jack Williams taking over the 13 jersey from Gal. I’m really excited about the team I’m putting on the park,” Morris added.

As for their opponents the Rabbitohs, Mitchell is a huge addition to their squad and is set to line up at fullback.

“He’s going to be primed for a big game, but we’ll be ready for him,” Morris said.

On the flip side, while Mitchell may be a positive, Souths have lost plenty of experience with the retirements of senior forwards Sam Burgess and John Sutton.

The Sharks have trimmed their originally selected 21-man squad down to 19, with Billy Magoulias and Jackson Ferris retained as shadow players for tomorrow night.

The Sharks and Souths kick-off at 5.30pm at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.

At time of publishing, there had been no restrictions on spectator access due to the Corona virus. The NRL was to make a decision on the matter on Saturday morning. 

See the updated Sharks team list and a few relevant stats ahead of the game tomorrow night.

 

 

The Stats that matter: Round 1

The Sharks have a reasonable record of late in matches against Souths, however they have recorded losses in their previous six round one games.

The head to head between the two teams gives the Sharks a slight edge, while Souths have been dominant in matches played against the Sharks at ANZ Stadium.

See the stats that matter.

Head to head
Played 88 – Sharks 46 wins, Souths 39, 3 draws

At ANZ Stadium
Played 8 – Souths 7 wins, Sharks 1

Round 1
Last 10 matches - Sharks 1 win, 9 losses

Last 7 matches - Souths 5 wins, 2 losses

•             The Sharks and Souths have played twice in round 1, with one win apiece

Past 8 matches between the clubs
Sharks 5 wins, Souths 3 wins

At ANZ – past 8
Souths 7 wins, Sharks 1 win

•             Souths won 8 of 11 at ANZ Stadium in 2019

Sharks away record
The Sharks won 4 of 13 away matches in 2019

Biggest winning margins
Sharks 42 – Souths 0, Caltex Field, 1994
Souths 43 – Sharks 4, Redfern Oval, 1969

 

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Rabbitohs is number 1 Latrell Mitchell
    Fullback for Sharks is number 1 William Kennedy
  • Winger for Rabbitohs is number 2 Dane Gagai
    Winger for Sharks is number 2 Sione Katoa
  • Centre for Rabbitohs is number 3 James Roberts
    Centre for Sharks is number 3 Josh Morris
  • Centre for Rabbitohs is number 4 Braidon Burns
    Centre for Sharks is number 4 Jesse Ramien
  • Winger for Rabbitohs is number 5 Campbell Graham
    Winger for Sharks is number 5 Ronaldo Mulitalo
  • Five-Eighth for Rabbitohs is number 6 Cody Walker
    Five-Eighth for Sharks is number 6 Shaun Johnson
  • Halfback for Rabbitohs is number 7 Adam Reynolds
    Halfback for Sharks is number 7 Chad Townsend

Forwards

  • Prop for Rabbitohs is number 8 Tevita Tatola
    Prop for Sharks is number 8 Andrew Fifita
  • Hooker for Rabbitohs is number 9 Damien Cook
    Hooker for Sharks is number 9 Blayke Brailey
  • Prop for Rabbitohs is number 10 Thomas Burgess
    Prop for Sharks is number 10 Aaron Woods
  • 2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 11 Jaydn Su'A
    2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Briton Nikora
  • 2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 12 Cameron Murray
    2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Wade Graham
  • Lock for Rabbitohs is number 13 Liam Knight
    Lock for Sharks is number 13 Jack Williams

Interchange

  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 14 Mark Nicholls
    Interchange for Sharks is number 14 Connor Tracey
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 15 Ethan Lowe
    Interchange for Sharks is number 15 Braden Hamlin-Uele
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 16 Hame Sele
    Interchange for Sharks is number 16 Toby Rudolf
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 17 Alex Johnston
    Interchange for Sharks is number 17 Scott Sorensen

Match Officials

  • Referee: Ben Cummins
  • Referee: Belinda Sharpe
  • Touch Judge: Michael Wise
  • Touch Judge: Liam Nicholls
  • Video Referee: Ben Lowe
  • Senior Review Official: Steve Clark

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