In a match to be played at the C.ex Coffs International Stadium in Coffs Harbour, a Sharks team with three players missing from last week’s Dragons win, but with four returning from injury and suspension, will be looking to back up their golden point success when they tackle the Gold Coast Titans on Sunday.
To be played as a part of the NRL’s Indigenous Round, the game marks the first official NRL game to be played at the NSW north coast venue.
However, wherever the two teams meet, the game remains an important one for both, with the Sharks keen to start something of a winning run, while after an up and down first 11 rounds the game is crucial for a Titans outfit hoping to stay within striking distance of the top eight.
One of the Sharks returning players will be Jesse Ramien, the centre back on deck after three weeks on the sideline with a facial fracture.
As Ramien remarked earlier in the week, his team will be out to build on their performance of a week ago and helping their cause will be the return of a handful of his high profile teammates.
“It was good to get a win and we feel like we can get our season started, put the other games in the past and focus on what’s ahead now,” Ramien said.
“This is probably one game where we don't have too many out, it’s good to have almost a fit, full squad available for selection.”
Joining Ramien on the C.ex Stadium after missing recent matches will be winger Ronaldo Mulitalo and bruising back rower Siosifa Talakai, while Shaun Johnson has been preferred in the halves, with Chad Townsend making way.
And Andrew Fifita would have made five, however the experienced front rower has failed to overcome a hamstring strain suffered in the Magic Round game two weeks ago.
Out of the Sharks team which beat the Dragons is Josh Dugan, Mawene Hiroti and Teig Wilton, with the trio all serving one game suspensions.
The injury to Fifita though has opened the door for the Sharks to welcome another new face in Franklin Pele, with the 20-year-old prop to play his first game in the top grade.
With the withdrawal of Fifita, Pele became the obvious choice as his replacement, the youngster scoring two barnstorming tries for the Newtown Jets last weekend in staking a claim for a promotion to the NRL.
In the head to head record from matches played between the two clubs, the Sharks hold a narrow advantage, having recorded 13 victories, to eight from the Titans, with one game drawn.
The Sharks have won the past five, with their last meeting in Round 14 last year in a match played at Netstrata Jubilee, Cronulla winning 30-18 in a game where Johnson had two try assists and Talakai was amongst his teams stars.
In relation to the Titans, the Gold Coast recorded its fifth win of the season last week in beating Canterbury 30-20, their fourth triumph by double figures.
They have won won just two of five matches as the away team this year.
The match also marks the 200th NRL game for Johnson, the Kiwi international and former Golden Boot winner debuting for the Warriors back in 2011.
He played 162 matches for the New Zealand club over eight seasons, and is the Warriors highest points scorer (917).
Johnson joined Cronulla in 2019, this will be his 38th match for the Sharks.
Mitch Rein of the Titans will also play his 200th NRL match. He debuted for the Dragons in 2011 against his current club Gold Coast.
The Sharks and Titans match is scheduled to kick off at 2.00pm on Sunday, with the two 19-man teams listed below.
Fullback for Sharks is number 1 William KennedyFullback for Titans is number 1 Alexander Brimson
Winger for Sharks is number 2 Connor TraceyWinger for Titans is number 2 Anthony Don
Centre for Sharks is number 3 Will ChambersCentre for Titans is number 3 Brian Kelly
Centre for Sharks is number 4 Jesse RamienCentre for Titans is number 4 Patrick Herbert
Winger for Sharks is number 5 Ronaldo MulitaloWinger for Titans is number 5 Phillip Sami
Five-Eighth for Sharks is number 6 Matt MoylanFive-Eighth for Titans is number 6 Tanah Boyd
Halfback for Sharks is number 7 Shaun JohnsonHalfback for Titans is number 7 Jamal Fogarty
Prop for Sharks is number 8 Aiden TolmanProp for Titans is number 8 Jarrod Wallace
Hooker for Sharks is number 9 Blayke BraileyHooker for Titans is number 9 Mitch Rein
Prop for Sharks is number 10 Aaron WoodsProp for Titans is number 10 Moeaki Fotuaika
2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Briton Nikora2nd Row for Titans is number 11 Kevin Proctor
2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Wade Graham2nd Row for Titans is number 12 David Fifita
Lock for Sharks is number 13 Toby RudolfLock for Titans is number 13 Tino Fa'asuamaleaui
Interchange for Sharks is number 14 Braydon TrindallInterchange for Titans is number 14 Erin Clark
Interchange for Sharks is number 15 Siosifa TalakaiInterchange for Titans is number 15 Beau Fermor
Interchange for Sharks is number 16 Jack WilliamsInterchange for Titans is number 16 Jaimin Jolliffe
Interchange for Sharks is number 20 Franklin PeleInterchange for Titans is number 17 Sam McIntyre
Reserve for Sharks is number 19 Billy MagouliasReserve for Titans is number 18 Esan Marsters
- Referee: Chris Sutton
- Touch Judge: Drew Oultram
- Touch Judge: Belinda Sharpe
- Senior Review Official: Henry Perenara