A hostile and difficult venue for many away teams, the recent record indicates that GIO Stadium holds few fears for a Cronulla side which had won six straight in the national capital before the Raiders broke the streak with a narrow victory in 2019.
Canberra winger Jordan Rapana, with nine tries from 11 matches against the Sharks will need to be kept in check, while Ronaldo Mulitalo and Andrew Fifita have impressive try-scoring strike rates in games against the Raiders.
And few might recall that Ricky Stuart in his stint in charge of the Sharks coached John Morris during the 2010 season.
Just some of the stats, numbers and interesting facts to consider ahead of the Sharks v Raiders elimination final on Saturday.
Check out some of the ‘Stats that matter’.
Head to Head
• Matches played – 74 Sharks 39 wins, Canberra 35
• Canberra has won the past three matches against the Sharks
• The past five matches have been decided by 10 points or less.
• Three of the past four matches have been decided by four points or less.
• Between 2013 and 2018 Cronulla won six straight matches in Canberra, with the Raiders breaking the streak in 2019 with a 22-20 win.
Cronulla Sharks Overall Finals Record
- Played 27, Won 10, Lost 17
Canberra Raiders Overall Finals Record
- Played 49, Won 23, Lost 26
• Since 2012 under the current finals format, the fifth placed team has defeated the eighth placed team in seven of the eight matches played.
- The only exception was in 2017, the Sharks going down to the Cowboys 15-14 in golden point.
• This will be the seventh Finals meeting between the Sharks and Raiders.
- The Sharks have won four of the six.
- The past three finals meetings between these two teams have been Week 1 contests in 2008 (Sharks 36-10), 2012 (Raiders 34-16) and 2016 (Sharks 16-14), the past two at GIO Stadium
• The last Finals match between these teams came in the Sharks premiership-winning year of 2016, Cronulla fought back from a 12-0 deficit to win 16-14, earning a week off.
- This is the eighth time since 1998 teams have played each other in the final round of the regular season and in the first week of the finals.
- The past three times this has occurred, the team that lost the final round match has gone on to win the next week.
• Sharks are 0-8 v the other top eight sides this season and are the first team since North Sydney in 1995 to go into the finals not having beaten any of the other finalists.
• The Sharks have missed only one Finals series since the 2012 season (2014)
• They have won just one of the past five Finals, a 2018 Semi-Final against Penrith.
• As the away team they have lost their past three Finals matches, winning just 10 of 36 matches overall as the away team.
• After winning three straight week one finals (2013, 2015, 2016), the Sharks have now lost their past two - being eliminated by Manly 2019 and Roosters 2018.
• It is the first time since 2003-04 they have made the Finals in two straight seasons
• Canberra has won three of its past five Finals matches, with its last appearance in the 2019 Grand Final, losing to the Roosters
• Five of the past six Raiders Finals matches have been decided by six points or less.
• Raiders have won the past two, and six of the nine Finals matches played in Canberra
• In Canberra, the Raiders have won six of eight matches in 2020, losing to Storm and Roosters.
• Jordan Rapana has scored nine tries in 11 matches against the Sharks
• Wade Graham has scored seven tries against Canberra, his highest tally against any team.
• Ronaldo Mulitalo has scored three tries in two matches against the Raiders.
• Andrew Fifita has scored five tries against Canberra, his highest tally against any team.
• Josh Dugan played 70 matches for Canberra from 2009 to 2011, scoring 27 tries. He has scored two tries in his past three matches against Canberra.
• Sione Katoa finished the regular season with 15 tries (equal fourth) and 19 linebreaks (equal fourth).
• This is John Morris’ second Finals campaign in his second season of coaching at NRL level
• Cronulla lost its Week 1 Finals match last year against Manly 28-16.
• Morris has coached the Sharks in 45 NRL games
• Ricky Stuart coached the Sharks in 91 matches from 2008 to 2010
• Stuart coached 18 Finals matches, winning 12. Stuart has won three of his past seven Finals
• Stuart won the Premiership with the Roosters in his first year of coaching (2002)
• Stuart coached John Morris at the Sharks in 2010, until round 19, when replaced by Shane Flanagan.