Sharks v Roosters preview

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Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks v Sydney Roosters Saturday 7:35pm at PointsBet Stadium, Woolooware

The Cronulla Sharks will host the Sydney Roosters this Saturday night as the NRL holds their 12th Indigenous Round, formerly known as Close the Gap Round. The two sides are both in the top 8, with only one win separating them.

For Cronulla, they will no doubt be very happy with the position that they find themselves in after 11 rounds. Sitting in 4th place on the ladder with their bye round next week, the Sharks will want to go into their week off on a high. Despite their promising start to the season, however, they have failed to string together successive wins since the 5th Round.

Despite a late scare up on the Gold Coast last Sunday, the Sharks held on to bounce back following their shock loss to the Raiders. A hard fought first 40 minutes in terrible conditions seemed to wear the Titans down a bit, with halfback Nicho Hynes slotting the field goal to ice the game, 25 points to 18, in the 80th minute. A Titans break following a short kickoff saw Hynes sin binned with just seconds left to play, only a small sour note on a solid performance in his return to the number 7 jersey.

Following the Sharks Magic Round loss, Nicho Hynes was moved back into the halves, with Lachlan Miller getting the chance to debut at fullback. Scoring a try and making 10 tackle busts, the Rugby 7s convert certainly made an impression on the game. With William Kennedy returning from suspension for their clash against the Roosters, Miller moves back to 18th man, however he will be of much utility value to the side as the season progresses.

The Sydney Roosters are sitting 7th on the ladder as the half-way point of the season approaches, with inconsistency rife throughout their campaign so far. Playing the defending premiers Penrith last weekend at the SCG, they managed to hold them out for nearly thirty minutes before a quick Jarome Luai double saw Penrith gain control of the game, with the Roosters down 32-12 at the full time siren.

Roosters captain and fullback crossed in the 61st minute for his side, which was his 6th try in just the past 4 games. His form is certainly coming at a good time from a NSW perspective, with origin sides being picked in the very near future, and with injuries to the likes of Tom Trbojevic and Latrell Mitchell. The Roosters will certainly want him to have a big performance this Saturday, as they will almost certainly have to make do without him for a few rounds due to the upcoming Origin commitments.

One gamer Terrell May has been named to retain his spot on the bench while Sitili Tupouniua returns from a head knock in a boost to the Roosters forward pack.

The Sydney Roosters have triumphed in their past 6 meetings with Cronulla, and will look to make it 7 this Saturday.

Last meeting: Round 5 2021 - Roosters 26 Sharks 18

Who to watch: The last time Will Kennedy took to the NRL field, in Round 9, he was sent off for a high shot. Entering an early guilty plea, he received a two week suspension that created a selection headache for Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon. With his return in the number 1 jersey, the Cronulla backline looks on paper to be much more settled, but can it transition onto the field?

Named on the wing for his 7th game of the season so far, young talent Joseph Suaalii will be looking to add to his growing tally of tries in the NRL. Debuting at just 17, his 2021 season was cut short due to injury, but he is fast cementing his spot in this Roosters side with a number of solid performances strung together in recent weeks, highlighted by a big hit on Viliame Kikau last week. Picked over the likes of Kevin Naiqama, Suaalii needs to keep showing his coach why he deserves his spot in the 17.

The favourite: The Sharks are the narrow favourites heading into this one.

My tip: With William Kennedy returning to the Sharks backline, with him may come the Cronulla of the first few rounds. Sharks by 8.

1. Will Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Connor Tracey 4. Siosifa Talakai 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Matt Moylan 7. Nicho Hynes 8. Toby Rudolf 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Royce Hunt 11. Briton Nikora 16. Teig Wilton 13. Cameron McInnes 14. Aiden Tolman 15. Braydon Trindall 17. Andrew Fifita 19. Thomas Hazelton 18. Lachlan Miller

1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Joseph Manu 5. Joseph Suaalii 6. Sam Walker 7. Luke Keary 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Drew Hutchison 10. Lindsay Collins 11. Angus Crichton 12. Nat Butcher 13. Siosiua Taukeiaho 14. Connor Watson 15. Fletcher Baker 16. Sitili Tupouniua 17. Terrell May 18. Lachlan Lam

Referees: Grant Atkins; Sideline Officials: Jon Stone, Drew Oultram; Video Referees: Gerard Sutton;

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