Raiders v Sharks

Image courtesy of foxsports.com.au
Jarrod Croker finished the regular season as the leading pointscorer. Image courtesy of foxsports.com.au
The Canberra Raiders  and Cronulla Sharks meet in the nation’s capital on Sunday afternoon, with both sides looking to keep their season alive. The winner will set up a semi-final clash with the loser of the match between Melbourne and Souths, will the loser will have its season brought to a premature end.

New South Wales fullback Josh Dugan returns for the hosts forcing Reece Robinson on to the wing, while halfback Sam Williams has also been named despite being a doubtful starter due to the shoulder injury that kept him out of last week’s 42-22 victory over the Warriors. Sharks centre Ben Pomeroy was rubbed out for two matches for his hit on Jonathan Thurston in his sides loss to the Cowboys last weekend, but Wade Graham returns to the squad after recovering from a sternum injury that has seen him play only once since round 20.

History – The ledger is pretty much square between these sides with the Sharks having won 31 of the 58 matches between these sides in comparison to Canberra’s 27 victories. The Raiders have won 13 of 21 fixtures in Canberra however. Two meetings between the clubs produced a win a piece in the home-and-away fixtures, although curiously, both games were won by the away team.

Dangermen – Josh Dugan is at the centre of most of the Raiders attacking raids and his return is a huge boost to the home sides chances of extending their season by another week. Expect him to see plenty of the ball and be a constant menace to the Sharks defence.

New South Wales five-eight Todd Carney  was excellent in a losing side last week and is more than capable of lifting his side if the forwards give him enough time and space to weave his magic. He is without question the most talented ballplayer in action and can turn the match on his own with a flash of brilliance.

Prediction – Although Canberra has home advantage, the Sharks look a good chance of upsetting their hosts on Sunday afternoon. In Todd Carney and Paul Gallen they boast genuine match winners who will make their opponents pay if they are not at the top of their game. Sharks 1-12

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