Wests Tigers v Sea Eagles preview
3 hours ago | Tim Costello
Battle for the top 4 intensifies as old rivals meet
Cronulla and the Sydney Roosters meet in a huge clash on Saturday out in the Shire. Both sides are looking to lock down a top 4 birth after showing indifferent form over the past 6 weeks.
The Sharks bounced back with a stellar first half against North Queensland last week. they were below their best in the second half but did enough to record the 10-point victory away from home. The Sharks will be aiming for some consistency and will see this match as the perfect opportunity to get the premiership tilt back on track. They have a good recent record at home against the Roosters and will want the home fans to turn out in droves to get them over the line.
The Roosters made hard work of an improved Tigers side last week, but had enough in the tank to get the win. They are back to full strength but haven't really hit their straps this year which is scary for other sides. they have a lot of points in them and if that clicks then it is danger. They like the Sharks are looking for consistency which has eluded them for the last two months or so.
With a top 4 berth on the line, there is a lot at stake in this all Sydney clash on Saturday.
Last meeting: Round 17 2017 - Roosters 12 Sharks 44
The Sharks hammered the Roosters in the last meeting with a glorious show of speed and strength in what was the best showing of the year by the boys from the Shire.
Cronulla have won the past 6 games against the Roosters including the last two at Southern Cross Group Stadium. The Roosters do have a 56% win record at the ground though which is 5th best of any club in history.
Who to watch: Look out for organising half Chad Townsend to leave his mark on this match. A good organiser that helps James Maloney play his natural running game, Townsend is a solid defender who reads the game well. His try assists have been down on last year as opposition defence's have tightened up. Look for his close kicking near the Roosters line to cause trouble and get back into form.
The Roosters welcomed Michael Gordon back last week after a injury lay off. He wasn't at his best but you won't see that again this week. Against his former club look for Gordon to have a great game highlighted by his kick return metres and passing out of the backfield for the tri colours in attack. Taking out last week, Gordon is superb under the high ball and will diffuse a lot of what the Sharks throw at him.
The favourite: The Sharks at home have slight favouritism.
My tip: The Sharks revival to continue with a hard fought win on the back of its big forward pack. Fifita and Gallen to lead the way. Sharks by 6.
1. Valentine Holmes 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Kurt Capewell 4. Ricky Leutele 5. Gerard Beale 6. James Maloney 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Matt Prior 11. Luke Lewis 12. Wade Graham 13. Paul Gallen 14. Jayson Bukuya 15. Sam Tagataese 17. James Segeyaro 18. Chris Heighington
1. Michael Gordon 2. Latrell Mitchell 3. Ryan Matterson 4. Mitchell Aubusson 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Luke Keary 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 10. Dylan Napa 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Aidan Guerra 13. Isaac Liu 14. Zane Tetevano 15. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 16. Kane Evans 17. Connor Watson
Referees: Matt Cecchin, Alan Shortall; Sideline Officials: Nick Beashel, Jeff Younis; Video Referees: Bernard Sutton, Bryan Norrie;