Monday Night Football

Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au
Nathan Merritt scored a hat-trick against the Roosters last week. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au
Last 5 Meetings

Round 24 2012 – Cronulla Sharks 20 d South Sydney Rabbitohs 7 at Sharks Stadium
Round 9 2012 – South Sydney Rabbitohs 34 d Cronulla Sharks 28 at ANZ Stadium
Round 17 2011 – Cronulla Sharks 26 d South Sydney Rabbitohs 4 at Sharks Stadium
Round 8 2011 – South Sydney Rabbitohs 31 d Cronulla Sharks 12 at ANZ Stadium
Round 3 2010 – South Sydney Rabbitohs 30 d Cronulla Sharks 8 at Sharks Stadium

Current Form

Rabbitohs – W
Sharks – W

Souths  showed the competition that they are the real deal this season with a dominant performance in their 28-10 victory over the Roosters last Thursday night and will be confident of making it back-to-back wins when they face the Sharks  at ANZ Stadium on Monday night. Sam Burgess has been replaced by Jeff Lima in the starting side after copping a one game ban for his high shot on Mitchell Pearce, while Bryson Goodwin replaces Beau Champion (shoulder injury) in the centres.

Cronulla rode a wave of emotion to score a hard fought 12-10 win over the Titans in round one will be hoping that the intense media scrutiny that the club has been under in the past fortnight hasn’t taken its toll on the playing group. Interim coach Peter Sharp has retained the same 17 man squad from last week and added Jason Bukuya, Sam Tagatese and Chad Townsend to an extended bench.

1st Tryscorer – Nathan Merritt  has been amongst the leading tryscorers in the NRL for several seasons now and bagged a hat-trick against the Roosters on the opening night of the season. He scored a brace in the corresponding fixture here last year.

Cronulla played quite a tight game at Sharks Stadium last weekend but will look to throw the ball around a bit more on the bigger playing surface at ANZ Stadium on Monday, bringing the likes of winger Beau Ryan  into the game. He scored nine tries last season and is a more than capable finisher.

Prediction – Even without Sam Burgess, the Rabbitohs boast a formidable pack and are likely to make plenty of metres in the middle of the ground allowing their quick men plenty of space. The past fortnight must have been draining for everyone at Cronulla and after exerting so much to win against the Titans last week, it is unlikely that they will be able to maintain the same intensity for this match. South Sydney Rabbitohs 13+

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