Friday Night Football

Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
Last 5 Meetings

Round 9, 2013 – Cronulla Sharks 30 d Wests Tigers 6 at Allianz Stadium
Round 1, 2012 – Wests Tigers 17 d Cronulla Sharks 16 at Leichhardt
Round 26, 2011 – Wests Tigers 30 d Cronulla Sharks 22 at Sharks Stadium
Round 21, 2010 - Wests Tigers 24 d Cronulla Sharks 22 at Leichhardt
Round 23, 2009 – Wests Tigers 56 d Cronulla Sharks 10 at Sharks Stadium

Current Form

  Rd 12    Rd 13    Rd 14    Rd 15    Rd 16 
Sharks

-

L

W

-

L

Tigers

-

W

L

W

W


The Sharks  will be looking to put a poor recent record against the Tigers  behind them when the clubs meet at Sharks Stadium on Friday night. Although they beat the Wests 30-6 earlier this season, Cronulla has won just two of the past 15 meetings between the sides and hasn’t beaten the Tigers at home for ten years.

Paul Gallen is still out for the home side, but Cronulla can call on two other big name players for this match, with Michael Gordon and Beau Ryan named to return from injury on the weekend. Former Tiger Bryce Gibbs returns on the bench, to play his first NRL match of the season after recovering from an achilles tendon injury. Perhaps the biggest change made by coach Shane Flanagan however, is the move to play Luke Lewis at centre, with the New South Wales backrower replacing Ben Pomeroy in the backline to accommodate Anthony Tupou in the starting side.

After scoring their fourth win from five matches with a 22-4 victory over defending premiers Melbourne last weekend, the Tigers have unsurprisingly named an unchanged side for this match. Wests should get several important players back from injury for their match against the Warriors in a fortnight after next week’s bye, with Braith Anasta one of the men who came close to selection this week.

1st Tryscorer

Sharks backrower come centre Luke Lewis  has been on fire of late, with his hard running on the fringe of the ruck causing all sorts of problems for opposition defenders. He was on the scoresheet against the Cowboys in round 16 and will look to take advantage of a Tigers defensive unit that was woeful in its most recent match away from home.

James Tedesco  has been one of the Tigers best players since coming into the side this season and will want to add to the three tries he has scored in 10 matches during the current campaign. He opened the scoring in Brisbane last month and was also first on the scoresheet against the Storm in round five.

Prediction

Even without Paul Gallen, the Sharks boast a strong set of forwards and shouldn’t have any problems overpowering the Tigers injury-ravaged forward pack. The Cowboys didn’t get away from them until the dying stages in Townsville last weekend and a repeat of that performance should see the side go a long way to improving their dismal record against Wests. Cronulla Sharks by 8

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