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The final game of Round 5’s Super Saturday will see the Cronulla Sharks host the red-hot Sydney Roosters at Shark Park. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog, starting from 7:30pm AEST.
The Sharks are looking to bounce back after a 12-point defeat at the hands of the Parramatta Eels, who themselves gave the Roosters a good scare two weeks ago.
For the defending premiers, it’ll be business as usual after stringing three wins together following a Round 1 defeat at the hands of South Sydney. Their most recent outing saw them put Brisbane to the sword 36-4 at the SCG.
The Sharks sit comfortably in seventh place with a 2-2 record. They’ve had a disrupted start to the year with injuries, although they are boosted by the returns of skipper Paul Gallen and new five-eighth Shaun Johnson who both missed last week’s loss to the Eels.
They are still below full strength however, missing three former NSW Origin players in star back-rower Wade Graham, fullback Matt Moylan and bench front-rower Aaron Woods. Adding these three players to the Sharks’ side would make this game very close indeed.
The Roosters too are below full strength, missing captain and hooker Jake Friend and former representative winger Brett Morris – the latter of which is very unfortunate as it’s always a pleasure to see the Morris twins come up against each other.
However, Victor Radley and Matt Ikavalu are both very handy replacements for Friend and Morris – the Roosters do not lose much for having these two in the side.
The Sharks are a side with plenty of big-game experience, and at full strength I see them really taking it to the Roosters. Despite the loss of Woods they still have a very formidable pack.
It’s the loss of Matt Moylan that really worries me. Moylan is a try-assist machine, and while Josh Dugan is a great defensive fullback and is fantastic off kick-returns, his struggles with ball playing and pass-selection have been well documented. The Sharks will really struggle to score without Matt Moylan.
Dugan’s fitness is also a worry. He came from the field during the Eels game for an HIA, which saw Josh Morris shift to the back.
He also looked generally ginger for a long time in that game after a few hard knocks. He’s been quite injury prone in recent years – if he goes down in this game the Sharks could be in real trouble.
For the Roosters, their only real concern is Cooper Cronk, who came from the field during the Broncos’ game with hamstring tightness.
As he has shown time and time again, Luke Keary is more than capable of running the show by himself – having Cronk there is just a bonus.
The Roosters’ irresistible form and the Sharks’ injury problems make it very difficult to back Cronulla – even at home.
They’ll put up a fight early, and maybe even scare the Roosters a little like the Bulldogs did to Melbourne last week. But the Roosters will run away with it – they’re too classy to get done by a below-strength Sharks side.
Roosters by 16
Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 7:30pm AEST.
Where: Shark Park, Sydney
TV: Fox League
Streaming: NRL Digital Pass, Kayo Sports
1. Josh Dugan 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Bronson Xerri 4. Josh Morris 5. Sione Katoa 6. Shaun Johnson 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Matt Prior 11. Briton Nikora 12. Kurt Capewell 13. Paul Gallen. Interchange: 14. Blayke Brailey 15. Jayson Bukuya 16. Jack Williams 17. Scott Sorensen. Reserves: 18. Kyle Flanagan 19. Will Kennedy 20. Braden Hamlin-Uele 21. Aaron Gray
1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Joseph Manu 5. Matt Ikuvalu 6. Luke Keary 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Victor Radley 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Angus Crichton 13. Isaac Liu. Interchange: 14. Lindsay Collins 15. Zane Tetevano 16. Poasa Faamausili 17. Mitchell Aubusson. Reserves: 18. Nat Butcher 19. Sitili Tupouniua 20. Sam Verrills 23. Lachlan Lam