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Madimack Matchups - Sharks v Panthers

It's the ladder leaders against the reigning champions as the Sharks host the Panthers at PointsBet Stadium on Saturday night.

Cronulla have put the competition on notice with a seven-game winning streak including statement victories over the Roosters and Storm in the past two rounds.

Despite a defeat to the Warriors on the weekend, Penrith are perched in the top four and continue to showcase their class and depth as they defend their title.

A cracking Indigenous Round showdown looms, with a plethora of players on both sides also vying for State of Origin selection. Here are Sharks Media's Madimack Matchups to monitor for Round 12. The graphics below detail season statistics.

Madimack Matchups

Nicho Hynes v Jarome Luai

While he won the Dally M Medal in 2022, Sharks halfback Hynes is arguably in career-best form. He engineered a classic Magic Round victory over the Roosters last weekend after overcoming calf tightness to keep Cronulla atop the table.

Hynes has made it clear his full focus is on the Sharks, but with every starring performance he is mounting a compelling case to be handed a NSW jersey.

His three-time premiership-winning counterpart Luai, who is wearing Penrith's No.7 in the absence of Nathan Cleary, is also in the Blues mix. The winner of this individual contest will not only have put their team in prime position to secure another two competition points but driven up their own representative stocks.

Cameron McInnes v Isaah Yeo

As captains, McInnes and Yeo epitomise leading by example. You know what you'll get from the ultra-consistent opposing lock forwards, who relish the tough stuff through the middle but also possess crisp ball-playing ability.

Yeo has been the regular NSW No.13 while McInnes continues to be mentioned as a potential Blues debutant, with many pundits labelling him 'made for Origin'. As with Hynes, McInnes has repeatedly downplayed representative talk due to his club focus, but another strong game could see him facing Queensland on June 5.

Blayke Brailey v Mitch Kenny

Cronulla hooker Brailey has played every minute of every game this season. As always, his work-rate and defence have been exceptional, while his slick service from dummy-half is a key reason for the Sharks' humming attack.

Panthers rake Kenny is also a tackling machine (Brailey averages 39.7 tackles per game at an efficiency rate of 94.5%; Kenny averages 43.1 tackles at 88.6%) whose passing is crucial in allowing the likes of Luai and Dylan Edwards to fire.

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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