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Madimack Matchups - Sharks v Wests Tigers

It's a revenge mission for the Sharks against Wests Tigers on Friday night, seeking payback at home for a heavy defeat in Round 2.

The Tigers ran away with a 32-6 victory at Leichhardt Oval on a March evening where little went right for Cronulla as they lost several forwards to injury.

With that result in mind, the fourth-placed Sharks will be wary of the bottom-ranked Tigers' bite at PointsBet Stadium. After three agonising close losses in a row, Craig Fitzgibbon's men would love a momentum-building win heading into a bye.

While Cronulla have lost Nicho Hynes, their most high-profile player, due to an ankle injury at training, they still possess a mountain of individual firepower.

Read on for Sharks Media's head-to-head Madimack Matchups for Round 19.

Madimack Matchups - Round 19

Teig Wilton v John Bateman

Named to start for the first time since Round 13, having come back from a shoulder injury with two games off the bench, Wilton's leadership on the left edge will have a calming influence in the absence of the suspended Siosifa Talakai.

Still only 24, Wilton stood in as captain for the Sharks earlier this year and is renowned for his workload, averaging 100 metres and 31.5 tackles per match.

English international Bateman, while perhaps not quite at his damaging best so far in 2024, is a fearsome competitor who boasts a skilful touch. He ominously produced his season-best 177 running metres against the Storm last week.

Ronaldo Mulitalo v Alex Lobb

For a finisher as lethal as Mulitalo, two tries in the past 10 games is bordering on a drought. But with an incredible record of 33 four-pointers in 31 matches at PointsBet Stadium, the star winger appears a strong chance to touch down this week.

Renowned for his passion and combativeness, Mulitalo is as eager as anyone to reverse Cronulla's recent fortunes and kickstart their run to the finals.

Promising Tigers youngster Lobb, meanwhile, is only two games into his NRL career. He looks set to line up on the opposite side to Mulitalo but the pair will go head-to-head when it comes to icing opportunities on their respective flanks.

Daniel Atkinson v Lachlan Galvin

After flexing his utility value by playing on the wing against the Titans, Atkinson has been thrust back into Cronulla's halves with Hynes facing eight weeks out.

Though inexperienced, with only 11 NRL games to his name, Atkinson showed composure and control when lining up at five-eighth earlier in the campaign.

Teenage sensation Galvin has been a shining light for the Tigers, handling the rigours of his first NRL season impressively. Having scored three tries across his past three games, the gifted rookie is looking more and more comfortable.

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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