Green Machine fires in Melbourne
16 hours ago | Josh Robertson
Super Saturday makes a stop in the shire as two sides in the lower reaches of the top eight - Cronulla and Parramatta - do battle to try and move themselves into the top four.
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming was the mantra of Dory in ‘Finding Nemo' and the 2019 Sharks have taken a similar approach. Despite having a heavy injury toll, the Sharks have found ways to win. Sitting sixth with Shaun Johnson and Wade Graham named on the reserves and Matt Moylan in his second game back, the gentle paddle might turn into furious strokes as the Sharks try to break into the top four.
Rookie coach John Morris will be concerned with the lack of stacking victories this season as the Cronulla have gone win-loss through the first half. Morris has unearthed some fantastic prospects in Briton Nikora and Jack Williams, now having Moylan, Johnson and Graham back will propel the much-fancied side into favoritism which followed their off-season recruitment.
The Eels have fluctuated more wildly than a politician making election promises. After their slow start, the blue-and-gold got a bump from their shiny new stadium but they need to find a moderate center to keep their spot in the top eight.
Much of that falls onto the shoulders of Mitchell Moses and Clint Gutherson. The latter signed a huge deal to remain at the Eels, so will be expected to produce the form of earlier this season, as Moses tries to get back-to-back scalps against two of the competition heavyweights, in such a congested ladder has them on the brink of the top four.
Last meeting: Round 4 2019 - Eels 24 Sharks 12
Who to watch: In all their injury drama, Chad Townsend has remained the constant. The experienced half is partnered by Kyle Flanagan again this week, so he'll take a majority of the duties. Against a talented Eels backline, The Chad has to keep them quiet with his kicking game and combining with the returning Matt Moylan, they should have enough to see off the Eels.
Blake Ferguson was the big off-season acquisition for the blue-and-gold. The Premiership winning back has had an alright start to life in Sydney's west. 5 tries from 11 appearances, averaging 164 run metres, the hulking figure is the key to the Eels sets starting well and will set the tone against a rugged Sharks side and giving Mitch Moses and Will Smith room to work.
The favourite: Formlines and home ground advantage have the Sharks as comfortable favourites.
My tip: The Sharks have been finding ways to win. The home side should have enough firepower to see off an mercurial Eels side. Sharks by 6.
1. Matt Moylan 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Bronson Xerri 4. Josh Dugan 5. Aaron Gray 6. Kyle Flanagan 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Matt Prior 11. Briton Nikora 12. Kurt Capewell 13. Paul Gallen 15. Jayson Bukuya 16. Jack Williams 17. Braden Hamlin-Uele 20. Wade Graham
1. Clint Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Michael Jennings 4. Josh Hoffman 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Will Smith 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Kane Evans 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Manu Ma'u 13. Tepai Moeroa 14. Peni Terepo 16. David Gower 17. Marata Niukore 21. Nathan Brown
Referees: Peter Gough, Chris Butler; Sideline Officials: Jeff Younis, Mark Bohan; Video Referees: Ashley Klein, Bryan Norrie;