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Old boys and a young gun to feature at local derby clash

The old and the new come together at PointsBet Stadium on Saturday when the Sharks and Dragons clash in a crucial local derby matchup.

On the Great White Sharks reunion day, with former players and officials to gather to reminisce and be remembered, the son of gun will make his NRL debut in front of a sell-out crowd which will include around 150 stars of days gone by.

Kade Dykes, son of Sharks star Adam, has been chosen to replace the injured Will Kennedy in becoming Shark #554, following in the footsteps of dad and grandfather John in making him a third generation Cronulla first grade player.

After starring for the Newtown Jets in the Knock-On Effect NSW Cup in 2022, coach Craig Fitzgibbon explained the recent form of the 20-year-old Dykes was too hard to ignore in promoting his promotion into the Sharks NRL side for this weekend’s important match.

“His form for Newtown got to a point where he was undeniable. Kade got to a point where he warranted an opportunity. I’m really excited for Kade and really excited to see what he can bring to the team,” Fitzgibbon said.

“He has really good balance, speed and footwork, hopefully we can see some of his best attributes tomorrow night,” he added.

While the Sharks come into the contest in third place with 28 competition points, the Dragons are on 20, and considering they have the worst differential of the top 11 teams and need to win an extra game in comparison to their closest rivals, the match shapes as a must-win for the St George Illawarra side.  

A desperate team always presents a difficult challenge, something not lost on Fitzgibbon or the Sharks playing group.

“It’s a local derby, both teams always turn up and we can’t wait to take the field on Saturday,” experienced front rower Aiden Tolman expressed. “Every win matters at this time of year and they’re in a position where they need to win to make the finals, so we know it’s going to be a tough, physical battle.”

“It goes back to the old adage of big brother against little brother,” Tolman’s forwards partner Braden Hamlin-Uele added. “Form goes out the window and it’s just about physical commitment to the game.”

The Sharks come into the contest on the back of a thrilling golden point win against Souths to cement their position inside the top four, while the Dragons suffered their 10th loss of the season in a 34-8 defeat at the hands of the Cowboys.

In team news, the inclusion of Dykes at fullback for the Sharks has been well publicised, with the only other change seeing Hamlin-Uele promoted into the starting side in place of Royce Hunt who injured a shoulder in the Rabbitohs match.

Dykes father Adam played 221 NRL matches, including 183 for Cronulla over two stints (1995-2001 and 2005-2007), while his Grandfather John played 33 Premiership matches including nine for the Sharks in 1976

In the head-to-head statistics for the 49 games played between the two clubs, dating back to the St George-Illawarra Steelers merger, the Sharks hold a slight advantage, having won 25 matches, the Dragons 23, with one draw.

Recently the Sharks have held the upper hand, winning four in a row, the last encounter seeing the Cronulla side claim a 36-12 win in Wollongong back in round 3.

Saturday night will be the first local derby played at PointsBet Stadium since 2019, with the Sharks strong in the Shire in 2022 having won seven of eight matches this season, the only loss coming in Round 12 against the Roosters

The game also matches Fitzgibbon against his junior club, the Sharks coach playing one local derby in his time at the Dragons, coming off the bench in the infamous 1999 Preliminary Final, while Cameron McInnes played for St George from 2017-2020, captaining the club in 36 of his 91 matches.

This will be his ninth local derby, winning four of seven with the Dragons and one-from-one as a member of the Cronulla team.

Sharks v Dragons match, with the teams to play for the Monty Porter Memorial Cup (CLICK HERE to see website article), is scheduled to get underway at 7.30pm, with a Jersey Flegg game between the same two teams the curtain-raiser at 5.15pm.

The Great White Sharks will do a lap of the field at around 7pm, at the conclusion of the Jersey Flegg and prior to the NRL match getting underway.

The Sharks have retained Lochie Miller and Jesse Colquhoun in their 19-man squad. See below the two team lists.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Sharks is number 1 Kade Dykes
    Fullback for Dragons is number 1 Moses Mbye
  • Winger for Sharks is number 2 Connor Tracey
    Winger for Dragons is number 2 Mathew Feagai
  • Centre for Sharks is number 3 Jesse Ramien
    Centre for Dragons is number 3 Jack Bird
  • Centre for Sharks is number 4 Siosifa Talakai
    Centre for Dragons is number 4 Zac Lomax
  • Winger for Sharks is number 5 Ronaldo Mulitalo
    Winger for Dragons is number 5 Tautau Moga
  • Five-Eighth for Sharks is number 14 Braydon Trindall
    Five-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Talatau Amone
  • Halfback for Sharks is number 7 Nicholas Hynes
    Halfback for Dragons is number 7 Ben Hunt

Forwards

  • Prop for Sharks is number 8 Toby Rudolf
    Prop for Dragons is number 10 Blake Lawrie
  • Hooker for Sharks is number 9 Blayke Brailey
    Hooker for Dragons is number 9 Andrew McCullough
  • Prop for Sharks is number 10 Braden Hamlin-Uele
    Prop for Dragons is number 16 Francis Molo
  • 2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Briton Nikora
    2nd Row for Dragons is number 12 Jaydn Su'A
  • 2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Wade Graham
    2nd Row for Dragons is number 13 Tariq Sims
  • Lock for Sharks is number 13 Cameron McInnes
    Lock for Dragons is number 8 Jack De Belin

Interchange

  • Interchange for Sharks is number 15 Aiden Tolman
    Interchange for Dragons is number 14 Tyrell Sloan
  • Interchange for Sharks is number 16 Teig Wilton
    Interchange for Dragons is number 15 Aaron Woods
  • Interchange for Sharks is number 17 Andrew Fifita
    Interchange for Dragons is number 17 Josh McGuire
  • Interchange for Sharks is number 18 Lachlan Miller
    Interchange for Dragons is number 18 Michael Molo

Reserves

  • Replacement for Sharks is number 19 Jesse Colquhoun
    Replacement for Dragons is number 21 Tyrell Fuimaono

Match Officials

  • Referee: Ashley Klein
  • Touch Judge: Drew Oultram
  • Touch Judge: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
  • Senior Review Official: Chris Butler

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.