Back in Coffs Harbour, which proved to be a happy hunting ground in 2021, the Sharks will be aiming to put together back-to-back wins in the NSW North Coast town when they play the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday.
The Sharks managed a 38-10 victory over the south-east Queensland outfit last year and will be looking for more of the same at the C.Ex Coffs International Stadium this time around.
Following a comprehensive win over the Warriors in Redcliffe last weekend, the Sharks are fully aware they will need to deliver something similar despite meeting a Titans side sitting last on the NRL ladder and well down on confidence.
“We respect our opponents every week, we know they’ve got some very strong players who for whatever reason haven’t quite gelled, but that’s not to say it’s not a performance away. Our main aim and objective is that it’s not tomorrow,” Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon said.
Looking for consecutive victories for the first time since round five, the coach is hoping for some consistency in his team’s performances with the business end of the season fast approaching.
“We need to keep improving the parts of our game we’ve been working on and we’re searching for that consistency level,” Fitzgibbon added. “We’re really excited about some improvements we have made and now it’s time to take another step and put in a complete performance.”
In team news, the Sharks squad has been trimmed to 19, with Dale Finucane on an extended bench and in line for a return for tomorrow’s game. The final 17-man team will be confirmed one hour ahead of the 3pm kick off.
In the brief history of matches between the two clubs the Sharks hold a 15 win to eight advantage, with one match drawn, with the Cronulla team successful in the past seven encounters.
Two of the four most recent matches have in fact seen the Sharks record its biggest wins against the Titans, 40-10 in 2020 and 38-10 in the Coffs Harbour clash last year.
Saturday afternoon will be just the second NRL match played at the venue.
The Sharks come into the contest in sixth position on the ladder with 18 competition points, the Gold Coast 15th with just three wins. The Titans have lost all six away matches this season, and nine straight going back to Round 22 last year, which is a club record.
Ronaldo Mulitalo, named this week in the Kiwi squad for the Pacific Tests Match against Tonga, scored twice last week against the Warriors, has four tries in his past three matches and will aim to score in four straight matches for the second time in his career. Mulitalo also leads the NRL in line breaks.
His wing partner Sione Katoa scored his second career hat-trick against the Warriors last week and has the third most line breaks in the NRL behind only teammate Mulitalo and Alex Johnston from Souths.
Will Kennedy has the most line break assists going into Round 15, with teammate Nicho Hynes ranked second, Hynes also having the equal second most offloads, behind only Tevita Pangai Jnr of the Bulldogs.
The Sharks v Titans match is scheduled for a 3.00pm kick-off at C.Ex Coffs International Stadium, with the two 19-man squads listed below.
Match: Sharks v Titans
Round 15 -
Fullback for Sharks is number 1 William KennedyFullback for Titans is number 1 Alexander Brimson
Winger for Sharks is number 2 Sione KatoaWinger for Titans is number 2 Greg Marzhew
Centre for Sharks is number 3 Jesse RamienCentre for Titans is number 3 Brian Kelly
Centre for Sharks is number 4 Siosifa TalakaiCentre for Titans is number 4 Patrick Herbert
Winger for Sharks is number 5 Ronaldo MulitaloWinger for Titans is number 5 Jamayne Isaako
Five-Eighth for Sharks is number 6 Matt MoylanFive-Eighth for Titans is number 6 Paul Turner
Halfback for Sharks is number 7 Nicholas HynesHalfback for Titans is number 7 Toby Sexton
Prop for Sharks is number 8 Toby RudolfProp for Titans is number 8 Jarrod Wallace
Hooker for Sharks is number 9 Blayke BraileyHooker for Titans is number 9 Erin Clark
Prop for Sharks is number 10 Royce HuntProp for Titans is number 10 Isaac Liu
2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Briton Nikora2nd Row for Titans is number 11 Sam McIntyre
2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Wade Graham2nd Row for Titans is number 12 Beau Fermor
Lock for Sharks is number 13 Cameron McInnesLock for Titans is number 13 Tino Fa'asuamaleaui
Interchange for Sharks is number 14 Aiden TolmanInterchange for Titans is number 14 Tanah Boyd
Interchange for Sharks is number 15 Braydon TrindallInterchange for Titans is number 15 Moeaki Fotuaika
Interchange for Sharks is number 16 Teig WiltonInterchange for Titans is number 16 Jaimin Jolliffe
Interchange for Sharks is number 19 Dale FinucaneInterchange for Titans is number 17 Sam Lisone
Replacement for Sharks is number 18 Connor TraceyReplacement for Titans is number 18 Sosefo Fifita
- Referee: Chris Sutton
- Touch Judge: Nick Beashel
- Senior Review Official: Alan Shortall