Hungry Sharks look to bounce back against Warriors
Despite a disappointing last start loss to the Broncos, the Sharks retained their position in the top eight as the 2021 season moves into the business end.
The Sharks were below their best in Brisbane going down by 26-18 to a desperate Broncos outfit, however the stakes are set to rise again on Sunday when they take on a fellow finals aspirant in the Warriors in a round 17 match to be played at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.
After some honest conversations, coach Josh Hannay quicky pinpointed to the playing group a few of the aspects of the game his team needed to improve in preparation for what shapes as a crucial game for the Sharks this weekend.
“I thought we lacked the necessary intent. We weren’t horrible, we still played some good footy, but I just thought Brisbane were hungrier for the result,” Hannay said.
His two starting props in Aiden Tolman and Aaron Woods were in agreeance with the coach’s sentiments, had a reasonable idea where it all went wrong last week and spoke about how they might go about finding a solution ahead of Sunday’s game.
“Our little effort areas. They (the Broncos) came out really fast, really hard. They set the tone from the kick-off,” Tolman said.
“This week we need to get stuck into our contact, make sure the kick chase is on, all those little effort areas that go unnoticed, that’s the main areas we have to work on,” he added.
Tolman’s front row partner Woods was signing a similar tune when talking about the last round loss, while at the same time emphasising improvement was certainly needed this weekend against an unpredictable Warriors outfit.
“The Broncos came out hard and we didn’t match it. I thought they beat us with their energy. What we did in our prior four games, just wasn’t on,” Woods reasoned.
“We spoke about it straight after, we were really disappointed. We’ve come back to training and worked really hard on those little effort areas of the game and we need to fix them up for the Warriors because they are a really good side.”
In team news, in a blow to the Sharks side experienced centre Will Chambers will miss the game on Sunday as he goes into COVID isolation.
While not committing an breach of any kind, Chambers was forced into isolation and out of Sunday’s game as a result of being outside the NRL ‘bubble’ and by his wife’s side as she gave berth to the couple’s third child.
The omission of Chambers will likely see Connor Tracey revert back into the centres, Braydon Trindall coming into the team in the halves, however the Sharks also have the option of making a like-for-like replacement with Mawene Hiroti more than capable of slotting into Chamber's spot in the Cronulla backline.
Hannay will have until an hour before kick off on Sunday before finalising his 17-man team.
In some of the statistics and numbers relating to games played between the two clubs, the Sharks boast a strong record in recent matches, having won the past three encounters and seven of the last eight matches against the Warriors.
The teams last met in Round 18 in 2020, with Ronaldo Mulitalo scoring a double in a 22-14 win to the Sharks in a match played at Kogarah.
In highlighting the fact the Sharks are more successful when they start their matches strongly, as explained by the coach and his senior players, they have won six of eight games when leading at half-time, but are yet to win a match this season when trailing or level at the break (7 losses).
As for the Warriors, they lost their fourth straight match last week, a 19-18 golden point defeat by the Dragons and have won just one of their past seven games.
Sunday’s game was to have seen Chad Townsend face his old club, however a shoulder injury suffered last week will see him sidelined for a period of around four weeks.
As for Shaun Johnson, he faces his former, and future, club in the Warriors this week.
Johnson debuted for the Warriors, playing 162 matches for the club from 2011-2018, before joining the Sharks in 2019.
The Sharks and Warriors game is scheduled for a 4.00pm kick off and with no spectators able to access the stadium, the match can be seen on Channel 9 and through Fox Sports and Kayo.
See the two 19-man squads for Sunday’s game listed below.
Fullback for Sharks is number 1 William KennedyFullback for Warriors is number 1 Reece Walsh
Winger for Sharks is number 2 Sione KatoaWinger for Warriors is number 2 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
Centre for Sharks is number 4 Jesse RamienCentre for Warriors is number 3 Rocco Berry
Centre for Sharks is number 6 Connor TraceyCentre for Warriors is number 4 Marcelo Montoya
Winger for Sharks is number 5 Ronaldo MulitaloWinger for Warriors is number 5 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Five-Eighth for Sharks is number 14 Braydon TrindallFive-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Kodi Nikorima
Halfback for Sharks is number 7 Shaun JohnsonHalfback for Warriors is number 7 Sean O'Sullivan
Prop for Sharks is number 8 Aiden TolmanProp for Warriors is number 8 Addin Fonua-Blake
Hooker for Sharks is number 9 Blayke BraileyHooker for Warriors is number 9 Wayde Egan
Prop for Sharks is number 10 Aaron WoodsProp for Warriors is number 10 Matthew Lodge
2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Teig Wilton2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Eliesa Katoa
2nd Row for Sharks is number 15 Siosifa Talakai2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Bayley Sironen
Lock for Sharks is number 13 Toby RudolfLock for Warriors is number 13 Jazz Tevaga
Interchange for Sharks is number 11 Briton NikoraInterchange for Warriors is number 15 Leeson Ah Mau
Interchange for Sharks is number 16 Jack WilliamsInterchange for Warriors is number 16 Bunty Afoa
Interchange for Sharks is number 17 Braden Hamlin-UeleInterchange for Warriors is number 17 Ben Murdoch-Masila
Interchange for Sharks is number 19 Mawene HirotiInterchange for Warriors is number 20 Jack Murchie
Reserve for Sharks is number 21 Luke MetcalfReserve for Warriors is number 18 Adam Pompey
- Referee: Chris Sutton
- Touch Judge: Darian Furner
- Touch Judge: Jon Stone
- Senior Review Official: Alan Shortall