2018 NRL – Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks vs Newcastle Knights Preview

AT A GLANCE

When?
Sunday 26th August, 05:00 (UK)

Where?
Southern Cross Group Stadium

What channel is it on?
UK – Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks vs Newcastle Knights 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://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/Show.aspx?sh=SHA2418

THE STATISTICS

THE LOWDOWN

SHARKS

Head Coach: Shane Flanagan

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

Unavailable: Jack Williams, Jesse Ramien, Ricky Leutele

  • Cronulla backed up their gusty win over Melbourne last week with a hard-fought win over North Queensland last week. The Cowboys pushed them all the way but a strong final 15 minutes sealed the 28-16 win for the Sharks.

  • Shane Flanagan must do without his first choice centres through injury so Josh Dugan and Kurt Capewell will replace Jesse Ramien and Ricky Leutele whilst that also sees Edrick Lee come onto the wing. Wade Graham and Jayden Brailey are also back in the side.

  • The Sharks have the top 4 in their sights and currently sit level on points with the fourth-placed Dragons. The points differential currently sits at 17 points between the two sides with the Sharks looking to at least cut that gap if both win this weekend.

KNIGHTS

Head Coach: Nathan Brown

Starting 13: Meaney, Sio, Mata’utia, Denniss, Kenny-Dowall, Watson, Pearce, Ese’ese, Levi, D. Saifiti, Fitzgibbon, Guerra, Barnett – Interchanges: Buhrer, Heighington, King, Lillyman – Reserves: Felise, Yates

Unavailable: Tautau Moga, Jacob Saifiti, Slade Griffin, Nathan Ross, Kalyn Ponga

  • Newcastle produced a solid display to earn a comfortable win over Penrith last week. They controlled the game and were in front from the 12th minute with the Knights not relinquishing that lead as they won 12-20.

  • Kalyn Ponga is out for the Knights so Nick Meaney starts at fullback with Connor Watson returning to the side at five-eighth. Jacob Lillyman is back and replaces Pasami Saulo on the bench.

  • Last week’s win was enough to ensure the Knights couldn’t get sucked into the battle to avoid the wooden spoon and after three wins in their last six games, Newcastle will be looking to improve that record to end the season potentially as high as tenth.

THE PREDICTION

Cronulla have the top 4 in their sights and can plie the pressure on St George with a win against Newcastle here. The Sharks are level on points with the fourth-placed Dragons and are separated by a points difference of just 17. The Knights are without Dally M contender Kalyn Ponga which could harm their chances but are boosted by the return of Connor Watson at five-eighth. With little on the line for the Knights, they can play with freedom but the loss of Ponga might be too much to overcome, especially with the Sharks hunting a top 4 spot and they will win their third game in a row here.