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11 Sep 2018 by Ash Wheldon

2018 NRL – Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks vs Penrith Panthers Preview

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AT A GLANCE

When?
Friday 14th September, 10:40 (UK)

Where?
Allianz Stadium

What channel is it on?
UK – Sky Sports Arena
Australia – Foxtel, LIVE PASS

Where can I stream the match?
UK – Sky Sports subscribers can stream the match online via Sky Go
Australia – https://www.telstra.com.au/tv-movies-music/sports-offer

Are tickets still available?
https://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=NRLSFSSF18

THE STATISTICS

THE LOWDOWN

SHARKS

Head Coach: Shane Flanagan

Starting 13: Holmes, Feki, Dugan, Leutele, Lee, Moylan, Townsend, Fifita, Brailey, Prior, Lewis, Sorensen, Gallen – Interchanges: Capewell, Segeyaro, Woods, Bukuya – Reserves: Ramien, Seumanufagai, Paulo, Flanagan

Unavailable: Jack Williams, Wade Graham

  • Cronulla were defeated by Sydney Roosters in their qualifying final last weekend. They allowed the Roosters to score a quick-fire double which saw the Sharks surrender the lead and they were unable to regain it as they went down 21-12 to the minor Premiers.

  • Co-captain Wade Graham suffered a devastating ACL injury last week so his season is over. He is replaced by Scott Sorensen in the run-on side whilst Kurt Capewell comes onto the bench after missing last week with a ruptured testicle.

  • The Sharks conceded double the number of penalties (10) and errors (8) as the Roosters last week which contributed to their downfall. That played a part in allowing the Roosters to have five more sets than the Sharks with them also completing 7% less sets.

PANTHERS

Head Coach: Cameron Ciraldo

Starting 13: Watene-Zelezniak, Mansour, Blake, Peachey, Crichton, Maloney, Cleary, Merrin, Katoa, Campbell-Gillard, Kikau, Yeo, Fisher-Harris – Interchanges: May, Leota, Harawira-Naera, Tamou – Reserves: Egan, Hetherington, Ellis, Phillips

Unavailable: Sam McKendry, Dylan Edwards, Jarome Luai, Dean Whare

  • Penrith produced a brilliant performance to defeat New Zealand Warriors and progress to the second week of the NRL finals. The Panthers overcome a slow start before continuing to apply pressure on the Warriors for large spells as they came out 27-12 winners.

  • Cameron Ciraldo has named the same 17 that were victorious last week and is expected to field that team come kick-off barring any late withdrawals with Viliame Kikau again likely to play through the pain of torn ligaments in his elbow.

  • The Panthers forced four drop outs last week as their kicking game came to the fore. The repeat sets seemed to physically drain the Warriors as the Panthers kept them scoreless for the final 65 minutes in the game.

THE PREDICTION

Cronulla must overcome the loss of Wade Graham if they are to progress to the preliminary finals next week. The co-captain suffered an ACL injury last week during their loss to the Roosters with Penrith next in store. The Panthers were impressive last week as they defeated New Zealand Warriors and will be hoping for a repeat performance. James Maloney guided his side around the pitch superbly last week, ably assisted by his partner at five-eighth, Nathan Cleary. They controlled the game and if they can do the same this week they will be difficult to beat. The Sharks were guilty of making too many errors last week, particularly in good field position. This will be a tight affair and could go down to the final play of the game but Maloney’s guile can see off his former side.

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