Cronulla Sharks Vs Gold Coast Titans
22 April 2017, 7:40pm (AEST)
Southern Cross Stadium
Can the Premiers of 2016, maintain their defence against an injury riddled Gold Coast Titans (GCT) outfit that is a shell of their week one team.
Will the Blue Wall maintain its current Defensive dominance or can the GCT cause a massive upset?
Cronulla Sharks, 5-0-2, 3rd
Another enormous defensive effort by the Sharks, as for the second time in consecutive weeks they held the opposition to Zero tries. Now these weren’t bottom dwellers teams, they are serious title contenders in the Melbourne Storm and Penrith Panthers. To make this even more impressive both these games were away games for the Sharks. A massive effort across the park is what is starting to convince many a critic that the Sharks can go “back to back” Premierships. Penrith had their star players returned but even with this, the Sharks held strong and really pressured the Penrith young halves and ground them out of the game. V. Holmes was out of this world, with 219m, 2 offloads and a line break. He’s really growing well into the Full back position that he’s wanted for a very long time. The Sharks forwards really set the platform this week, with Heighington (138m) Fifita (123m) Graham (121m) Gallen (115m) and Lewis (100m) really dominating the Penrith pack, only allowing 2 forwards to cross the 100m for the game, Yeo (127m) and R.C-Gillard (101m). A special mention must go out to W. Graham, aka the Homing Missile, for shutting down any halves that dare to come to his side of the field. Executing bone crushing tackles and his ability to read the plays before they unfold. He’s sticking his hand up for the representation rounds coming up. With reporters backing his name to Break into the Australian team and to be selected in the Blues team come origin.
Gold Coast Titans, 1-0-6, 15th
Pre season the GCT must have really upset the “footy gods” as the injury curse continued last week. With R. James, C. Grevsmuhl, D. Copley and M. King all joining the injury ward. They were heart brokenly defeated by a charged down kick in the 78th minute that led to J. Roberts scoring his 3rd try that night. Statistically speaking they should have won the game, with a higher completion rate, more kick meters, less errors, more conversions and more completed sets. But where the fear is this week, as per last week is their go forward and total meters were poor with 341m less than the Broncos. A Special mention to J. Wallace, who played his best game to date against his old club, smashing and bashing 264m from 26 runs, 33 tackles, 3 tackle busts. He will have to be at this level again to try and help his GCT to a victory this week against one of the best packs going around.
Team news: (Final team lists released an hour before the game)
Named 1-17 for the 2nd week in a row.
Gold Coast Titans
Few unknowns this week, with 3 star players all potentially coming back. Most likely is J. Hayne returning to the side, with rumours Proctor and Hurrell could be more than 50% chances of getting a run on or bench position.
Their last 5 game report card:
Sharks have won 2 games, once at Southern Cross Group.
Gold Coast Titans have won 2 games, surprisingly both at Southern Cross Group.
And they have had a draw.
2016 – Round 21 – DRAW (18-18) – CBUS Stadium
2016 – Round 6 – Sharks won by 5 – Southern Cross Group Stadium
2015 – Round 10 – Sharks won by 1 – CBUS Stadium
2015 – Round 4 – GCT won by 2 – Southern Cross Group Stadium
2014 – Round 1 – GCT won by 6 – Southern Cross Group Stadium
What we take from this?
This is a danger game for the Sharks, with their coaching staff doing their best to stop “complacency” creeping into this match up. On paper, the Sharks team and statistics are screaming an easy victory and for us we have to agree. History suggests it will be a close encounter, with the largest winning margin from their last 5 games only being 6 points and a Draw, however this doesn’t take into consideration the current form guide.
With more team changes than a Casinos deck of cards for the GCT, we don’t see them finding a flow to be able to stifle the Sharks.
For Us the Sharks will be to strong across the park and are in exceptional form.
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