Sharks Circling Wounded Bunnies

Source: Getty Images/theaustralian.com.au
Souths face Cronulla on Monday Night Footy. Source: Getty Images/theaustralian.com.au

Cronulla Sharks NRL Logo


Sharks v Rabbitohs


Remondis Stadium

Monday April 19 – 7:05 PM (AEST)

Form:


LLLWW

WWLWL


South Sydney Rabbitohs Logo


Round 7 of the NRL winds up on Monday night when the Sharks  host the Rabbitohs  at Remondis Stadium.

After losing their opening four games, Cronula have won their last two; 22-6 over the Knights and 20-12 against the Roosters. It's been some turnaround, but they will miss suspended prop Andrew Fafita. The big guy made 240 metres and 29 tackles in 60 minutes last week. He's been replaced by Sam Tagatese, with Jayson Bakuya in for David Fafita, and Tinirau Arona the 18th man. But coach Shane Flannigan does have plenty of other willing workers - Wade Graham (139m & 35 tackles), Paul Gallen (159m & 24 tackles), Gerard Beale 149m and Ricky Leutele 140m were also busy in Round 6.

After a cracking start to 2015, Souths have gone off the boil, losing two of their last three. And sandwiched between emphatic losses to the Cowboys and Eels, the Rabbits pulled one out of the hat, controversially squeezing past the Bulldogs 18-17. But that victory came at a hefty price, losing the man who steers the ship, Adam Reynolds, to a knee injury for around six weeks. It meant the premiership winning spine was broken. With John Sutton now not due back from a broken jaw til next week, backrower Glenn Stewart will fill in at five-eighth for a second time. For all that, the Bunnies can't complain about the work rate of giant prop George Burgess, who made 155 metres and 45 tackles, while Isaac Luke chipped in with 126m and 47 tackles. However, most alarming for coach Michael Maguire would be the 26 missed tackles against the Cowboys.

This contest is pivotal to both clubs. Victory for the boys from the Shire means the Sharks keep their revival going and enjoy the momentum that comes with it. A loss for Souths makes it 3 defeats from 4 outings for a team many thought were invincible. It would also leave them on the brink of dropping out of the Top 8.

In a match where I reckon there might be a flood of points, Sharks exciting young fullback Valentine Holmes looks a good prospect to cross the stripe, while Souths flyer Alex Johnston is always a chance to post the opening try.  

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Chris Bombolas - Tatts Senior Writer

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