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26 May 2018 by Ash

2018 NRL – Newcastle Knights vs Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks Preview

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AT A GLANCE

When? Sunday 27th May, 05:00 (UK)

Where? McDonald Jones Stadium

What channel is it on? UK - Newcastle Knights vs Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks will not be televised live in the UK
Australia - Foxtel, LIVE PASS

Where can I stream the match? UK - N/A
Australia - https://www.telstra.com.au/tv-movies-music/sports-offer

Are tickets still available?
http://www1.ticketmaster.com.au/newcastle-knights-v-cronulla-sharks-newcastle-new-south-wales-27-05-2018/event/1300543DC5DB82DE?artistid=1109827&majorcatid=10004&minorcatid=695&tm_link=artist_msg-0_1300543DC5DB82DE

THE STATISTICS

THE LOWDOWN

KNIGHTS

Head Coach: Nathan Brown

Starting 13: Ponga, Sio, S. Mata'utia, Ross, Kenny-Dowall, Watson, Cogger, Ese’ese, Griffin, D. Saifiti, Fitzgibbon, Barnett, Guerra – Interchanges: Levi, Heighington, Buhrer, King – Reserves: Lillyman, Yates, Denniss, Naden

Unavailable: Nick Meaney, Tautau Moga, Mitchell Pearce, Brock Lamb, Jacob Saifiti

  • Newcastle lost their third game in a row as they fell to a disappointing defeat against Gold Coast. The Knights were level heading into the final six minutes but succumbed to an AJ Brimson converted try before Ash Taylor slotted a drop goal to seal the 33-26 win.

  • Brock Lamb and Jacob Saifiti both drop out of the 17 with cheekbone and shoulder injuries respectively. Jack Cogger replaces Lamb in the halves whilst Jamie Buhrer comes onto the interchange bench

  • The Knights were able to improve upon their completion rate which cost them the win in their previous game against the Panthers but still fell short against the Titans. They failed to complete just five of their 35 sets for an 86% completion rate but it was their defence - allowing 33 points - which cost them as they now have the leakiest defence in the NRL.

SHARKS

Head Coach: Shane Flanagan

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

Unavailable: Sione Katoa, Scott Sorensen

  • Cronulla extended their winning run to five matches as they did enough to beat Canterbury last week. The Sharks weren’t at their best but came up against a stubborn Bulldogs with them claiming a 22-16 win.

  • Cronulla are able to boast having their first-choice back-row available again with the return of Luke Lewis and Wade Graham. Kurt Capewell and Jack Williams drop out of the side.

  • The return of two of their starting pack will be important for Cronulla who only made an average of 33m per set last week. They also allowed Canterbury to make an average of 39.1, highlighting how well they did to get the win despite being rolled down the pitch.

THE PREDICTION

Cronulla are the form side of the NRL after racking up their fifth consecutive win last week and they will fancy their chances of extending that to six when they visit Newcastle this week. The Knights have lost their last three with them conceding the most points in the NRL so far this season. Although the Sharks haven’t been free-scoring this season with an average of just 17.5 points scored per game, they will relish the chance to face the Knights’ porous defence. The Knights must take their chances with ball-in-hand whilst fix up their defence if they’re to have a chance of winning this one but it’s the in-form Sharks that can notch up another win as they continue their rise up the table.

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