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28 Jun 2018 by Ash Wheldon

2018 NRL – New Zealand Warriors vs Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks Preview

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AT A GLANCE

When? Friday 29th June, 09:00 (UK)

Where? Mt Smart 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? http://premier.ticketek.co.nz/shows/Show.aspx?sh=WARR0718

THE STATISTICS

THE LOWDOWN

WARRIORS

Head Coach: Stephen Kearney

Starting 13: Tuivasa-Sheck, Fusitu’a, Gelling, Kata, Beale, Green, Johnson, Gavet, Lawton, Paasi, Papali’i, Harris, Mannering – Interchanges: Cook, Satae, Afoa, Tevaga – Reserves: Lisone, Hiku, Luke

Unavailable: Nathaniel Roache, Leivaha Pulu, Adam Blair, Ken Maumalo

  • New Zealand Warriors held off a North Queensland comeback to claim an important win in their last outing. Having raced into a 16-point lead before the half-hour mark, the Cowboys hit back to within four points before the boot of Shaun Johnson sealed a 16-23 victory.

  • Adam Blair is suspended so misses out with Simon Mannering replacing him at lock. Ken Maumalo is rested after he played for the Kiwis last week whilst Isaac Luke and Peta Hiku are also left out but have been named amongst the reserves and could receive late call-ups. David Fusitu’a, Anthony Gelling, Sam Cook and Jazz Tevaga all come into the 17.

  • The Warriors haven’t set the world alight on home soil this season with just four wins from seven matches. With an under-strength side set to take the field here, the Warriors could drop to just a 50% win ratio if they are defeated.

SHARKS

Head Coach: Shane Flanagan

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

Unavailable: Josh Dugan, Jack Williams, Luke Lewis, Wade Graham

  • Cronulla started poorly against Brisbane in their last game and despite getting level in the final quarter, a Corey Oates try with 11 minutes left condemned them to a 16-20 defeat.

  • New signing Aaron Woods comes straight into the 17 after he arrived from Canterbury this week, replacing Jack Williams on the bench who has a pectoral injury. Experienced second row pairing Luke Lewis and Wade Graham are out with injuries with Kurt Capewell and Scott Sorensen taking their place.

  • Cronulla have won four of their seven away fixtures this season with the Sharks proving much more effective on home soil.

THE PREDICTION

New Zealand Warriors host Cronulla in an important game at Mt Smart. The Warriors occupy the last spot in the top 4 with several teams within touching distance and a defeat here would see the Sharks close the gap to just two points. Both teams head into this game under strength but the Sharks are boosted by the signing of Aaron Woods who will be looking to rediscover the form that saw him represent New South Wales and Australia last season. Either could win this but it might pay to back the home side in a close contest.

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