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Sharks and Sea Eagles set for a Monday night showdown

Quite a bit has changed in the past 24 hours, but one thing that remains the same is the intense rivalry between the Sharks and Sea Eagles as they head into a crucial round 20 clash.

Queensland's COVID situation has seen the game day, kick off time and venue switch, with the match now set down for Monday at 8.05pm and at Suncorp Stadium, however a Sharks side which moved into seventh position last weekend remain desperate for a victory to continue their charge towards an NRL Finals berth. 

The game was originally scheduled to be played at the Moreton Daily Stadium in Redcliffe, a venue which has hosted preseason trial games, never an NRL fixture, and sadly they will have to wait a little longer with the Sharks and Manly match now a part of a double header at Suncorp tomorrow.  

(* see below Redcliffe ticketing refund information)

Kicking off the action on Monday night will be a 6pm match between the Bulldogs and Titans, with the Sharks and Sea Eagles to follow. 

Crowds will not be permitted with all teams and their staff to follow strict biosecurity protocols. 

With Saturday NRL fixtures postponed and moved to Sunday, three more games will take place at Suncorp today, beginning with Knights and Raiders at 1.50pm, the Grand Final rematch featuring the Storm and Panthers is scheduled for 4.05pm, before the Dragons and Rabbitohs come together at 6.20pm. 

All changes to the schedule were prompted and caused by a three-day snap lockdown imposed by the Queensland government and Queensland health. 

However, whatever the scheduled changes might be, the game remains an important one for the Sharks who are in a fight for a finals spot and for a Manly side aiming to push up into the top four.  

The Sharks not only moved up the ladder with a win over the Bulldogs a week ago but gave themselves a shot of confidence, winning despite key playmaker Shaun Johnson limping from the field before the half time break. 

With youngster Braydon Trindall and the versatile Connor Tracey now tasked with steering the team around, the Sharks survived a few anxious moments before going on with the job late in the match. 

While firm in his belief his young halves can get the job done, in casting an eye over the opposition for Monday's game, Hannay was aware of the challenge that awaits, most notably the difficult assignment of limiting the contribution from Sea Eagles fullback Tom Trbojevic. 

As the Sharks coach communicated in his weekly press conference on Friday, many have tried and most have failed to shut down the NSW Origin star. 

“It would be good to be the the first. He is arguably the best player in the game at the moment, he’s so critical to the way Manly play,” Hannay said. 

Emphasising the threat he poses, Trbojevic’s 27 line break assists is second to Cody Walker, his 26 line breaks are the second most behind only Alex Johnston, with those numbers even more impressive when considering he has played just 10 NRL games this season after missing the first five weeks and a couple more matches during the Origin period.

With the teams to play for the Steve Rogers Cup, that ledger is heavily weighted in favour of the Sea Eagles, Manly claiming the prestigious trophy 19 times in 24 matches, so too is the head to head record in all games played between the two clubs. 

Since the Sharks entered the top flight NSWRL competition in 1967 the teams have played on 93 occasions, Manly winning 66, the Cronulla side 25, with two matches drawn. 

The win percentage of 71 per cent for the Sea Eagles is their best current record against any team in the NRL, while not surprisingly the 26.9 winning percentage for the Sharks is their worst.

The Sharks are the holders of the Steve Rogers Cup, having won the most recent match by 40-22.

Both teams have positive records in Queensland since 2018, with Manly winning eight of 12 matches in the Sunshine state, Cronulla eight of 14 and the two clubs come into this match on the back of wins last weekend, the Sharks taking down the Bulldogs by 44-24, the Sea Eagles beating the Wests Tigers 56-24. 

The Sharks have won six of their past eight matches, with losses to Brisbane (Rd 16) and Canberra (Rd 18) thrown in, Manly 11 of the 14 since Round 5, nine of those wins by margins of 14 points or more.

As for some player milestones, Andrew Fifita will equal David Hatch and move into the Sharks top 10 for most matches played (188) and Jesse Ramien has scored two tries in three matches against Manly, the hard-running centre coming through the Sea Eagles Under-20's system, playing 48 matches from 2014-16 before moving to Cronulla.

The Sharks v Sea Eagles game is now scheduled for an 8.05pm kick off at Suncorp Stadium. 

See the Sharks website and social media channels later in the day for the 19-man squad lists. 

*Note: All tickets previously purchased for the game at Moreton Daily Stadium via Ticketek will be cancelled and all affected customers will receive full refunds. Those customers will receive communication directly from Ticketek, with information as to their refund.