DAVID Simmons will play only his second first grade game this weekend, having been named by Cronulla coach Stuart Raper in the team to play Manly. Simmons replaced Nathan Merritt who injured his ankle last week against the Bulldogs.
CRONULLA fans were bemoaning the lack of attacking football on display during the double header, but when Brett Kimmorley shot a perfect cut out pass onto the chest of Matt Rieck for the first try of Saturday?s game, it signalled a return to the Sharks of old. Unfortunately, a hangover from the Chris Anderson era remains ? ill discipline ultimately cost Cronulla the game. If Stuart Raper can iron the stupid penalties out of the team?s game, things will be looking very rosy down Sutherland way over the coming few weeks.
LAST week, it was difficult dividing the player of the week points; few if any players deserved them. This week, we have the same dilemma but for an entirely different reason - in a game where most experts were expecting a thirty point (or more) thrashing, Cronulla stood up and showed that they have what it takes to have an impact on the 2004 Telstra Premiership.
CRONULLA may have put in an extraodinary effort against the Bulldogs, but it won't be enough to save another player from the swinging axe. Last week, Andrew Lomu was punished for his inability to hold the ball - and responded with an awesome game this weekend. Unfortunately for him, being voted out of Sharks Den Survivor is a permanent infliction.
IT only took two tries for the Wests Tigers to assert their dominance over the Cronulla Sharks, as the new look squad gritted out a tough 12-6 victory to open the double header. Both teams appeared evenly matched in defence, with only the Tigers? superior penetration in attack the difference between the teams.
IT was a case of same old, same old for Cronulla fans this weekend. Lulled into a false sense of optimism by sweeping off-season changes to the team?s structure, the Sharks imploded against a gritty Tigers team in a game that could be summarised as simply being scrappy. If Cronulla don?t learn a thing or two about attacking in the next week, they could very easily cop a walloping by the slick looking Bulldogs in round two.
WHILE many good critics have anticipated a drastic rise in fortune for the Tigers this season, Cronulla have sneaked through the pre-season with barely a hint of publicity. Both clubs have stocked up on new players to complement those already on their roster and both clubs experienced a surge in good form towards the latter half of 2003. However, despite the parallels between both clubs, all the weight of expectation sits heavily across gold, black and white shoulders in 2004.
CRONULLA have named a near full strength team for their opening round match with the Wests Tigers. Nigel Vagana is the only notable omission, although the Sharks lose nothing with the chosen replacement, Australian international Phil Bailey.
THIS season Cronulla have been ranked distant outsiders. Coming from the disaster of 2003, its little surprise that nobody thinks we?re a chance at the eight. Laurie Daley predicted thirteenth, RLW gave us twelfth. However, with a swag of new signings and a year of experience under our belts, the Sharks have a good a shot at the title as anyone. Much of our chances stem from the forward pack and the new found depth therein.
INTERNATIONALS Jason Stevens and Phil Bailey emerged from their first game back from injury unscathed last night, as Cronulla ran in twenty tries to score a big win in an extended trial game in Port Maquarie. Split into three thirty-five minute matches, Cronulla easily dealt with Coffs Harbour (44-0) and Wingham (46-0) before scraping home against the home team Port Maquarie (12-10). The total combined score over the 105 minute game was 102-10.