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NRL Match Preview: Round 11  v Roosters

A heavyweight showdown between the surging Sharks and the clinical Roosters shapes as the highlight of Magic Round.

After a famous win over the Storm last weekend in the absence of star halfback Nicho Hynes – who coach Craig Fitzgibbon rated a "good chance" to return from calf tightness – Cronulla are full of energy and keen to keep rolling.

The Sharks own the NRL's best defensive record (14.2 points conceded per game) while the Roosters boast the most lethal attack (29.6 points per game).

Neither team are slouches on the other side of the ball, however, with Cronulla averaging the second-most points (27.1 per game) and the fifth-placed Roosters having conceded the fourth-fewest points (18.1 per game).

"As it stands, we haven't really achieved anything. We're feeling like we're improving, (but) we're not where we need to be," Fitzgibbon said, with his side sitting atop the ladder and looking for a seventh-straight win.

"There are some elite clubs that have been up the top of the tree for a long period of time now – they know exactly what it takes.

"We're trying to get to that level. Whether we're there or not remains to be seen. The guys finished the game (against Melbourne) obviously exhausted – it was a hard game – but also pleased with the performance and searching for more."

Hynes was named in the No.7 jersey on Tuesday and has built his training load throughout the week. Barring a late hiccup, he looks set to line up.

The marquee playmaker's name has been prominent in NSW State of Origin selection debates, but his focus is firmly on performing at club level.

"My only concern with Nicho is getting him healthy to play for the Sharks," Fitzgibbon said. "There is a lot of talk around Origin – it'd be fantastic to see him earn the spot – but we'll be making sure he's fully fit before we put him out there."

The Roosters have been on fire recently, stacking up 138 points and winning three games on the trot to rocket to the verge of the top four.

"The last three weeks in particular they're really starting to shape up as one of the powerful clubs," Fitzgibbon said of the team where he served as an assistant coach.

"It's not lost on anyone (that) we've got a difficult challenge on our hands, but an exciting one. It's a celebration of rugby league, the Magic Round, so we'll get up there, packed house, big stadium. We're looking forward to the challenge of that."

The teams last locked horns in an elimination final at PointsBet Stadium, with a field goal from Sam Walker handing the Roosters a pulsating 13-12 win.

Walker comes into this clash in brilliant touch and Fitzgibbon knows his troops must be on high alert when the Tricolours halfback has the Steeden.

"You've got to be on your toes, for sure," the Cronulla mentor said. "You don't know if he'll come up with a long ball or a little grubber kick or a chip kick, so there's plenty to take into account when you're defending against Sam.

"But also you've got (James) Tedesco and (Luke) Keary as well who are fine players. They're in top form. We'll have our hands full there, but that's part of the challenge, isn't it? Against the top teams there's a whole host of players you need to be wary of. We feel like we're ready for that and looking forward to it."

There are milestones aplenty, with Sharks prop Oregon Kaufusi to register his 100th NRL game while veteran Roosters winger Daniel Tupou reaches the 250 mark and front-rower Lindsay Collins brings up his century.

See the updated 19-man team lists below.

Kick-off on Saturday is at 5.30pm, with TV coverage on Foxtel and Kayo.

Team Lists


  • Fullback for Sharks is number 1 William Kennedy
    Fullback for Roosters is number 1 James Tedesco
  • Winger for Sharks is number 2 Sione Katoa
    Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel Tupou
  • Centre for Sharks is number 3 Jesse Ramien
    Centre for Roosters is number 3 Joseph-Aukuso Sua'ali'i
  • Centre for Sharks is number 4 Kayal Iro
    Centre for Roosters is number 4 Fetalaiga Pauga
  • Winger for Sharks is number 5 Ronaldo Mulitalo
    Winger for Roosters is number 5 Dominic Young
  • Five-Eighth for Sharks is number 6 Daniel Atkinson
    Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Luke Keary
  • Halfback for Sharks is number 7 Nicholas Hynes
    Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Sam Walker


  • Prop for Sharks is number 8 Thomas Hazelton
    Prop for Roosters is number 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
  • Hooker for Sharks is number 9 Blayke Brailey
    Hooker for Roosters is number 14 Connor Watson
  • Prop for Sharks is number 10 Oregon Kaufusi
    Prop for Roosters is number 10 Lindsay Collins
  • 2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Briton Nikora
    2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Angus Crichton
  • 2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Teig Wilton
    2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Nat Butcher
  • Lock for Sharks is number 13 Cameron McInnes
    Lock for Roosters is number 13 Victor Radley


  • Interchange for Sharks is number 14 Jack Williams
    Interchange for Roosters is number 9 Brandon Smith
  • Interchange for Sharks is number 15 Siosifa Talakai
    Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Egan Butcher
  • Interchange for Sharks is number 16 Royce Hunt
    Interchange for Roosters is number 16 Spencer Leniu
  • Interchange for Sharks is number 17 Tuku Hau Tapuha
    Interchange for Roosters is number 17 Terrell May


  • Replacement for Sharks is number 19 Mawene Hiroti
    Replacement for Roosters is number 18 Zach Dockar-Clay

Match Officials

  • Referee: Adam Gee
  • Touch Judge: Kasey Badger
  • Touch Judge: Jon Stone
  • Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein

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.

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