As impressive as their 48-10 win over the Cowboys may have been, the Sharks will be aiming to step up another gear when they take on one of the competition hot shots in the Sydney Roosters this weekend.
Despite missing a handful of key personnel, while again experiencing some adversity during the game with Ronaldo Mulitalo and Josh Dugan forced from the field in the opening half, the Sharks were at their attacking best against the Cowboys, however perhaps more significantly their defence was resolute in holding their opponents to just two tries.
As explained by prop Brayden Hamlin-Uele, who has chalked up plenty of game time in recent weeks due to the injury issues that his team have faced, coach John Morris was satisfied with the defensive performance while looking for more of the same at the SCG on Saturday.
“in hindsight, you’d like to keep them to zero. But he (Morris) was pleased by the resilience we showed on our line,” Hamlin-Uele said. “We’ve turned a corner from last year’s defence and hopefully we’ll be able to show everyone we can defend against a top eight team and make them work for their points.”
Aaron Woods, Hamlin-Uele’s front row partner, expressed similar sentiments.
“It was good to put 48 points on, but we were probably disappointed with the 10 we let in. They were two soft tries,” Woods said.
“We had a good win last week, but we’re playing against a red-hot Roosters this week. It will be a massive challenge but we’re really looking forward to it.”
While the Sharks come into the round five contest on the back of a big win, so to does a Roosters outfit which outlasted the New Zealand Warriors last weekend.
Sporting a new halves combination in rookie Sam Walker and Drew Hutchison, the Roosters ran away late in registering a 32-12 victory, their third win from four starts so far in 2021.
As for the predicted team line up, the only significant change in either side appears to be the return from suspension of Sharks centre Jesse Ramien.
Out since round one, Ramien comes back into run-on team, with the versatile and extremely capable Connor Tracey reverting to the interchange bench.
Ronaldo Mulitalo, who came from the field with a knee injury in the Cowboys game, has trained strongly during the week and appears likely to take his place in the Sharks team, as does Josh Dugan who has so far passed the concussion protocols and is on track to play on Saturday.
In the history over games between the two clubs, the Roosters lead the head to head statistical category with 61 wins, as opposed to 34 by the Sharks, with two draws.
The Sharks 35 per cent win record is their second worst overall against any team (Manly 27%).
The Roosters have won the last five matches against the Cronulla club, with three of those five wins by 14 points or more.
This will be the fifth clash between the Sharks and Roosters at the SCG, Cronulla winning the first in 1975, their opponents each of the past three, including the most recent encounter in round 19 last year, the Roosters winning 34-18 in a match where Shaun Johnson and Royce Hunt both suffered season ending injuries.
This will be Cronulla’s 1300th Premiership match, the club winning 630 of those games.
The Sharks and Rooster game is scheduled for a 7.30pm kick-off at the SCG tomorrow night (Saturday).
Fullback for Roosters is number 1 James TedescoFullback for Sharks is number 1 William Kennedy
Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel TupouWinger for Sharks is number 2 Mawene Hiroti
Centre for Roosters is number 3 Josh MorrisCentre for Sharks is number 3 Josh Dugan
Centre for Roosters is number 4 Joseph ManuCentre for Sharks is number 4 Jesse Ramien
Winger for Roosters is number 5 Brett MorrisWinger for Sharks is number 5 Ronaldo Mulitalo
Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Drew HutchisonFive-Eighth for Sharks is number 6 Matt Moylan
Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Sam WalkerHalfback for Sharks is number 7 Chad Townsend
Prop for Roosters is number 8 Isaac LiuProp for Sharks is number 8 Braden Hamlin-Uele
Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Freddy LussickHooker for Sharks is number 9 Blayke Brailey
Prop for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua TaukeiahoProp for Sharks is number 10 Aaron Woods
2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Angus Crichton2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Teig Wilton
2nd Row for Roosters is number 16 Nat Butcher2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Wade Graham
Lock for Roosters is number 13 Victor RadleyLock for Sharks is number 13 Toby Rudolf
Interchange for Roosters is number 12 Sitili TupouniuaInterchange for Sharks is number 14 Connor Tracey
Interchange for Roosters is number 14 Benjamin MarschkeInterchange for Sharks is number 15 Aiden Tolman
Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Jared Waerea-HargreavesInterchange for Sharks is number 16 Jack Williams
Interchange for Roosters is number 17 Fletcher BakerInterchange for Sharks is number 17 Billy Magoulias
Reserve for Roosters is number 21 Matt IkuvaluReserve for Sharks is number 18 Braydon Trindall
- Referee: Adam Gee
- Touch Judge: Nick Beashel
- Touch Judge: Peter Gough
- Senior Review Official: Steve Chiddy