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NRL Preview - Sharks v Sea Eagles

A win over the Bulldogs was a start, now the Sharks have a chance to put some credibility into their 2020 campaign if they can back it up against the Manly Sea Eagles on Sunday.

Emerging victorious last weekend eased some of the pressure however the challenge steps up a notch against a Manly side many have pencilled in as a premiership contender this season.

Sharks coach John Morris is certainly under no illusion as to the task awaiting his team on Sunday.

“It's an important game for us to back up last week," Morris said. "I was impressed with some parts of our game last week, we were 19 from 20 in completions. 

"But we'll need to build on that if we're going to get the job done this week."

Just hours before the Sharks scraped out a 20-18 triumph over Canterbury last Sunday, the Sea Eagles, minus a couple of key personnel who were injured during the game, got the better of the Canberra Raiders in what their coach described as one of their gutsiest wins.  

Tom Trbojevic and Dylan Walker have been ruled out due to injuries suffered in their last start victory, but with a forward pack featuring the likes of Jake Trbojevic, Addin Fonua-Blake and Marty Taupau, the Coach and Sharks prop Toby Rudolf realise the Sea Eagles will take some beating.

“You’ve got to know their strengths, then know what your role is when each of those boys are carrying the ball. Knowing their strengths and weaknesses,” Rudolf said.

“But we’ve got to worry about what we’re doing as a team and it will look after itself.”

"They are a really gritty club and we're aware they are capable of winning without their big names,” Morris added. "They are a very good side but we'll be ready for them."

What isn’t so much ‘looking after itself’ is the transition to the six-again rule, with the impact on the middle forwards immense and success often revolving around who handles the new interpretation the best.

“I like how it speeds it up and makes the game more attractive to watch, but playing is a different story,” Rudolf said.

“But we’ve spoken about it a lot as a team and I think we’ve adjusted to it.”

In team news, for the first time in recent memory the Sharks look likely to be able to trot out the same team which took to the field the week before, Matt Moylan coming through his return match unscathed, with Andrew Fifita to be fitter for two games since returning from calf and knee issues.

As for their opponents, Brendan Elliott comes into the side for Tom Trbojevic, Lachlan Croker for Walker at five eighth.

Taupau is back in the line up after missing the win over the Raiders.

In relation to the statistics, the Sharks winning record in Manly matches sits at just 26 per cent, their worst against any team in the NRL.

The Sea Eagles have won 17 of the past 19 against the Cronulla club, with the Sharks two wins coming in Round 3 of the 2012 season and their most recent victory in Round 11, 2016.

While it is a record that heavily favours their opponents, the fact that seven of the past eight games have been decided by 12 points or less, points to the fact that the Sharks are often in the contest but have been unable to ice the result.

The rivalry between the two clubs stretches back to the 1970’s and to two fiercely contested Grand Finals in 1973 and 1978, with both titles claimed by the Sea Eagles.

In terms of matches played at Central Coast Stadium, the teams have never met in Gosford however Manly has a strong record with 15 wins from its 18 matches played at the venue.

The Sharks have won two of its four games played at Gosford.

Well documented is the fact that Manly will be without Tom Trbojevic on Sunday, which can be deemed a positive for the Cronulla side, the Sea Eagles boasting a far superior record of 15 from 18 when he plays, as opposed to just six of 15 when he doesn’t.

That being said, this week’s fullback Brendan Elliott was again in the number one jersey when Manly managed to knock the Sharks out of the playoff race with a week one finals win in 2019.

The 19-man squads are listed below, with Jackson Ferris and Will Kennedy omitted from the originally named Sharks 21.

The Sharks and Manly match, with the teams to play for the Steve Rogers Memorial Trophy, kicks off at 4.05pm at Central Coast Stadium tomorrow. Both Channel 9 and Fox Sports will televise the game live.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Sea Eagles is number 1 Brendan Elliot
    Fullback for Sharks is number 1 Matt Moylan
  • Winger for Sea Eagles is number 2 Jorge Taufua
    Winger for Sharks is number 2 Sione Katoa
  • Centre for Sea Eagles is number 3 Brad Parker
    Centre for Sharks is number 3 Josh Dugan
  • Centre for Sea Eagles is number 4 Tevita Funa
    Centre for Sharks is number 4 Jesse Ramien
  • Winger for Sea Eagles is number 5 Reuben Garrick
    Winger for Sharks is number 5 Bryson Goodwin
  • Five-Eighth for Sea Eagles is number 6 Lachlan Croker
    Five-Eighth for Sharks is number 6 Shaun Johnson
  • Halfback for Sea Eagles is number 7 Daly Cherry-Evans
    Halfback for Sharks is number 7 Chad Townsend

Forwards

  • Prop for Sea Eagles is number 8 Addin Fonua-Blake
    Prop for Sharks is number 10 Aaron Woods
  • Hooker for Sea Eagles is number 9 Danny Levi
    Hooker for Sharks is number 9 Blayke Brailey
  • Prop for Sea Eagles is number 16 Sean Keppie
    Prop for Sharks is number 15 Braden Hamlin-Uele
  • 2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 11 Joel Thompson
    2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Briton Nikora
  • 2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 12 Curtis Sironen
    2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Wade Graham
  • Lock for Sea Eagles is number 13 Jake Trbojevic
    Lock for Sharks is number 13 Jack Williams

Interchange

  • Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 10 Martin Taupau
    Interchange for Sharks is number 8 Andrew Fifita
  • Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 14 Cade Cust
    Interchange for Sharks is number 14 Toby Rudolf
  • Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 15 Jack Gosiewski
    Interchange for Sharks is number 16 Siosifa Talakai
  • Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 17 Taniela Paseka
    Interchange for Sharks is number 17 Royce Hunt

Match Officials

  • Referee: Adam Gee
  • Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
  • Touch Judge: Chris Sutton
  • Video Referee: Ben Galea
  • Senior Review Official: Jared Maxwell

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