Ahead of Friday's #NRL game between Penrith Panthers and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, writer Rob C...
9 hours ago
Sharks coach Stuart Raper has resisted making changes or resting any of his star players for the final round clash with South Sydney on Saturday night.
With a finals berth confirmed, the temptation may have been to omit some of his big-name players in a bid to freshen them up for the following week, however with the Sharks desperate for a victory to give them a confidence boost heading into the important games which will follow, Raper has chosen his strongest possible side.
The only changes to the Sharks line up include Hutch Maiava coming into the starting side in place of the injured Jason Stevens and Paul Mellor taking over from rookie Beau Scott in the centres.
Mellor and Maiava, who both began the Newcastle game on the interchange bench, will be replaced for the Souths clash by Keith Galloway and Reece Williams.
Sharks experienced prop Stevens has undergone an MRI scan today on his shoulder, with the results of the scan to be given to his doctor for appraisal tomorrow. Statements as to his playing future are likely to be made tomorrow.
Suffering a dislocated shoulder in the loss to Newcastle, Stevens has been ruled out of this weeks match, but the player himself and Sharks medical staff remain positive about his prospects for the following week when the Sharks will compete in the first round of the NRL finals.
The Sharks will be looking for an improved performance to the one which saw them soundly beaten by Newcastle last Saturday night. In a disappointing follow-up to their 62-point win over Manly the previous week, the Sharks were overwhelmed by the Andrew Johns-led Knights team in the 44-14 loss.
The NRL announced that Englishman Russell Smith will referee Saturday night?s match, which gets underway at 5.30pm.
A big night of celebrations are planned to give Sharks legends Stevens and David Peachey the send off they deserve after giving the club outstanding service throughout their careers. While Stevens will not take any part in the match, he will join Peachey in a lap of honour, with his family in tow, at the conclusion of the game.
Commemorative posters will be handed out on the night, with special presentations to be made to both players immediately after the game. The Sharks will also honour the 39-years of service by club Doctor Peter Malouf who retires from his post at the end of the 2005 season.
DAVID PEACHEY DAVID SIMMONS NIGEL VAGANA PAUL MELLOR LUKE COVELL ADAM DYKES BRETT KIMMORLEY HUTCH MAIAVA KEVIN KINGSTON DANNY NUTLEY MATT HILDER PHIL BAILEY PAUL GALLEN
KEITH GALLOWAY REECE WILLIAMS PHIL LEULUAI MICHAEL SULLIVAN