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Rested up Sharks face resurgent Bulldogs

A Sharks side rested up and refreshed following the week off due to the representative round, face a resurgent Bulldogs team brimming with confidence after consecutive wins in what shapes up to be a keenly contested match-up at CommBank Stadium tomorrow afternoon.

The Sharks supplied six of their team to the various Origin and international squads last weekend, four of those in Siosifa Talakai, Ronaldo Mulitalo, Briton Nikora and Sione Katoa taking an active part in those matches, however according to Coach Craig Fitzgibbon all have returned with a bounce in their step ready to make a major contribution this Saturday.

“They’ve come back buoyed,” Fitzgibbon began. “When you walk into a representative camp, it’s not a week-to-week proposition, you’ve got to deliver. That makes the preparation incredibly intense, that’s the thing they took away from that, the standard of preparation in reps is different and they’ve brought that back with them.”

While the coach will look to his representative players to lead the way this weekend, Bulldog Matt Burton was one of the Blues best in the Origin win, with the Sharks wary of the impact he could have on Saturday.   

“That was impressive not to play centre for the entire season and then to deliver at the highest level like he did,” Fitzgibbon said of Burton. “He’s obviously a key part of their attack, we are under no illusions he’s a difficult player to handle and we’ll do our best to do that.”

As for the Bulldogs side on the whole, after a stumbling start to the season, one which resulted in head coach Trent Barrett standing aside, they have found some form under interim coach Michael Potter and will certainly be a dangerous opponent for the Cronulla team.   

“The last two weeks in particular, even prior to that, they’ve been committed, but especially the last two weeks they’ve had energy and spirit and we’ll have to combat that,” Fitzgibbon said.  

In Sharks team news, the three players struck down with Covid last week returned to training on Thursday, completed the captain’s run today and will take their place in the team to tackle the Bulldogs, with no changes expected to the 17 as named on Tuesday.

In the history of matches between the two clubs, the Bulldogs hold a 56-to-37 win advantage, with two of the 95 matches drawn.

The Sharks have won seven of the past nine games played, however the teams have traded wins over the past five matches, a trend the Bulldogs would be hoping to continue with the Cronulla side taking out the most recent encounter.

That previous game was in Round 19 last year with the Sharks victorious by 44-24 at Cbus Stadium on the Gold Coast.

As the home team Canterbury has won 30 of 47 matches against Cronulla, although only winning one of the past five, that win coming at Accor Stadium back in 2019.

Saturday will be the second match played at CommBank Stadium between these teams, the Sharks taking out the previous clash 20-18 in Round 6, 2020, with Katoa scoring a hattrick of tries.

The Sharks have won just one of its three matches played at the venue, that coming against the Bulldogs in 2020.

As indicated previously, the Bulldogs arrive in strong form having registered back-to-back victories, however similarly, the Sharks will also be hoping to extend their winning streak to three after claiming the points against the Warriors and Titans prior to the break for the representative round.

In relation to players to watch, as the coach touched on Burton will no doubt be a topic of conversation in Sharks pre game video preparations, while after lean trot earlier in the season, Josh Addo-Carr has since scored 11 tries in his past nine games.

For the Sharks, Katoa has scored five tries in his past three matches, including three four-pointers against the Warriors in Redcliffe and after 15 rounds Mulitalo leads the NRL in line breaks. He also has four tries in the past three matches this season, while the Kiwi international has crossed the stripe five times in his two matches against the Bulldogs.

In other player stats, Will Kennedy has the most line break assists in the NRL going into Round 16, with teammate Nicho Hynes ranks second.

The Bulldogs have won four games in 2022 to sit 13th, the Sharks are fourth after nine wins.

See following the two 19-man squads for the game scheduled to get underway at 3.00pm at CommBank Stadium tomorrow.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Jake Averillo
    Fullback for Sharks is number 1 William Kennedy
  • Winger for Bulldogs is number 2 Jacob Kiraz
    Winger for Sharks is number 2 Sione Katoa
  • Centre for Bulldogs is number 3 Aaron Schoupp
    Centre for Sharks is number 3 Jesse Ramien
  • Centre for Bulldogs is number 19 Declan Casey
    Centre for Sharks is number 4 Siosifa Talakai
  • Winger for Bulldogs is number 5 Josh Addo-Carr
    Winger for Sharks is number 5 Ronaldo Mulitalo
  • Five-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Matt Burton
    Five-Eighth for Sharks is number 6 Matt Moylan
  • Halfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Kyle Flanagan
    Halfback for Sharks is number 7 Nicholas Hynes

Forwards

  • Prop for Bulldogs is number 8 Max King
    Prop for Sharks is number 8 Toby Rudolf
  • Hooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Jeremy Marshall-King
    Hooker for Sharks is number 9 Blayke Brailey
  • Prop for Bulldogs is number 10 Paul Vaughan
    Prop for Sharks is number 10 Royce Hunt
  • 2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Josh Jackson
    2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Briton Nikora
  • 2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 15 Corey Waddell
    2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Wade Graham
  • Lock for Bulldogs is number 13 Tevita Pangai Junior
    Lock for Sharks is number 15 Dale Finucane

Interchange

  • Interchange for Bulldogs is number 12 Raymond Faitala-Mariner
    Interchange for Sharks is number 13 Cameron McInnes
  • Interchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Zach Dockar-Clay
    Interchange for Sharks is number 14 Aiden Tolman
  • Interchange for Bulldogs is number 16 Joe Stimson
    Interchange for Sharks is number 16 Teig Wilton
  • Interchange for Bulldogs is number 17 Kurtis Morrin
    Interchange for Sharks is number 17 Andrew Fifita

Reserves

  • Replacement for Bulldogs is number 21 Jayden Tanner
    Replacement for Sharks is number 18 Connor Tracey

Match Officials

  • Referee: Ashley Klein
  • Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
  • Senior Review Official: Gerard Sutton

Last updated:

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.