While the rep round bye may have freshened up the playing group, however after four wins in a row perhaps the week off didn't fall at the most opportune time for the Sharks who may have preferred to keep the ball rolling.
Successive wins over the Dragons, Panthers, Titans then Cowboys saw the Cronulla side push up into the top eight, with the challenge now to rekindle that winning feeling and maintain their momentum when they travel to Brisbane to meet a Broncos side battling to find their best.
For coach Josh Hannay, it’s been all about the preparation, getting his teams’ focus back on the job and to take up where they left off some two weeks ago.
“It was really important this week that we hit the ground running with our preparation and our training. That’s been the message to the players. We’re working really hard and we got some reward for it leading up to the break,” Hannay said.
“We got into a really good rhythm with our football leading up to the bye.”
Partly responsible for that ‘rhythm’ as Hannay described it, has been the combination of his halves partnership, with Shaun Johnson and Matt Moylan taking over the reins and leading the team to the last three of those four wins.
Despite the uncertainty over his future, which was sealed during the bye week with a new contract at the Warriors for 2022, Johnson has delivered for Hannay, who credits his halfback for being a big part of the Sharks return to form.
“Having Shaun back over the last few weeks has been a big reason for the uplift in our performance,” Hannay explained. “I think he’s played with a lot of composure. We all know he’s a wonderful talent and he can do the freakish, but I think his ability to control our tempo and to play within himself has been a real key for us.
“He’s in a really good space as a professional and as a person and we just need more of the same from Shaun over the remainder of the season.”
While the Sharks have managed a turnaround in fortune over the past month, the results for their opponents on Sunday have been far less impressive.
Currently 16th on the NRL ladder, despite what appears to be an impressive playing roster, the Broncos haven't been able to buy a win of late, making this weekend crucial for not only Sharks chances of remaining in the top eight, but for Brisbane to get some of the many critics of their backs.
Giving the home team some hope of causing the upset and claiming the points is the recent record of games played between the two clubs.
Since the 2015, Brisbane has won seven of nine matches, included in that run six straight victories from 2017 to 2019.
Cronulla did however win the most recent encounter , the Sharks scoring the final three tries of the game in a 36-26 victory in the round 12 match played at Suncorp Stadium last year.
In the overall head to head numbers, in the 58 games played the Broncos hold the advantage with 37 wins, to 21 from the Sharks.
At Suncorp Stadium, the Broncos have won three of the past four, and 14 of the 19 matches played between the teams.
However, despite the Sharks poor form at Suncorp against the Broncos, Queensland has been a happy hunting ground of late, Cronulla winning five of their past six in the Sunshine State.
While the Sharks notched a narrow win in their previous match In round 15, the Broncos were on the end of a hiding, thrashed 46-0 by South Sydney, Brisbane’s biggest loss this season as they slipped behind the Bulldogs into last place on the ladder.
The Sharks event winning run is the first time they have achieved four in a row since 2018.
For the Sharks, the only change from the last round team sees Will Chambers replaced in the centres by Connor Tracey, with Sione Katoa slotting into Tracey’s spot on the wing.
Chambers misses the game due to his wife expecting the couples third child.
Aaron Woods again captains the Sharks in the absence of Wade Graham.
With the COVID restrictions the Sharks were scheduled to fly and fly out of Brisbane on the day of the game, which is scheduled for a 2.00pm kick off.
See the two 19-man squads listed below.
Fullback for Broncos is number 1 Tesi NiuFullback for Sharks is number 1 William Kennedy
Winger for Broncos is number 2 Corey OatesWinger for Sharks is number 5 Ronaldo Mulitalo
Centre for Broncos is number 3 Kotoni StaggsCentre for Sharks is number 2 Connor Tracey
Centre for Broncos is number 4 Herbie FarnworthCentre for Sharks is number 4 Jesse Ramien
Winger for Broncos is number 5 Jamayne IsaakoWinger for Sharks is number 19 Sione Katoa
Five-Eighth for Broncos is number 6 Tyson GambleFive-Eighth for Sharks is number 14 Braydon Trindall
Halfback for Broncos is number 7 Brodie CroftHalfback for Sharks is number 7 Shaun Johnson
Prop for Broncos is number 10 Payne HaasProp for Sharks is number 8 Aiden Tolman
Hooker for Broncos is number 9 Jake TurpinHooker for Sharks is number 9 Blayke Brailey
Prop for Broncos is number 19 Rhys KennedyProp for Sharks is number 10 Aaron Woods
2nd Row for Broncos is number 11 Alex Glenn2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Briton Nikora
2nd Row for Broncos is number 12 TC Robati2nd Row for Sharks is number 15 Teig Wilton
Lock for Broncos is number 15 Kobe HetheringtonLock for Sharks is number 13 Toby Rudolf
Interchange for Broncos is number 16 Keenan PalasiaInterchange for Sharks is number 12 Siosifa Talakai
Interchange for Broncos is number 17 Jesse ArtharsInterchange for Sharks is number 16 Jack Williams
Interchange for Broncos is number 18 Jordan RikiInterchange for Sharks is number 17 Braden Hamlin-Uele
Interchange for Broncos is number 22 Ethan BullemorInterchange for Sharks is number 21 Mawene Hiroti
Reserve for Broncos is number 14 Cory PaixReserve for Sharks is number 18 Billy Magoulias
- Referee: Ben Cummins
- Touch Judge: Michael Wise
- Touch Judge: Tyson Brough
- Senior Review Official: Chris Butler