This match will kick off proceedings for Friday evening’s matches, as the Roosters travel to the Sutherland Shire to take on the Sharks. This will be a history-making encounter between the men from the Shire and the men from Bondi, as it will have been the 100th time in which the sides clash, in what is sure to be a cracking encounter.
After dropping their opening two matches for the season, the Sharks have bounced back in impressive fashion. They would account for the Eels in slippery conditions at ANZ Stadium, before scoring an upset victory over the defending premiers, the Storm, on Good Friday in front of their parochial supporters. Although there was only one try in the entire match, the victory was no less impressive and vital.
For the Roosters, they were largely expected to account for the Warriors, especially given they were playing at home, where they are incredibly difficult to beat. What transpired over the 80 minutes was nothing short of astonishing, as the Warriors completely stunned the Roosters, 30-6, in front of their shocked fans. This loss has made a mockery of their label as title favourites, and leaves them with two wins and as many losses.
The Sharkies will be keen to consolidate on the winning form which they have suddenly found, thereby making it three consecutive victories. Conversely, the Chooks will be looking to put their latest embarrassment behind them, by unleashing on the Shire boys, and returning to Bondi with the two competition points.
2017 - Round 25 - Sydney Roosters 16 def. Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 14 at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
2017 - Round 17 - Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 44 def. Sydney Roosters 12 at Central Coast Stadium.
2016 - Round 25 - Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 37 def. Sydney Roosters 12 at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
2016 - Round 9 - Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 32 def. Sydney Roosters 20 at Allianz Stadium.
2015 - Round 13 - Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 10 def. Sydney Roosters 4 at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
As can be seen in the five most recent meetings between the Shire boys and the tricolours, the Sharks have been dominated these meetings. However, the most recent encounter between the sides resulted in a victory to the Roosters, courtesy of a penalty goal, which came about due to a penalty conceded by Sharks captain Paul Gallen, with his tackle on Roosters skipper Boyd Cordner. This result proved costly for the Sharks, as they missed out on a top 4 spot and a double chance in last season’s finals.
This match will be the 100th meeting between the two sides, with the Roosters emerging triumphant on 59 of these occasions, the Sharks winning 38 of these matches, and two draws. Although the Chooks have been the dominant of the two sides, the Sharkies have actually been the dominant side during this decade, in which they have won all but five of their matches against the tricolours (10 wins, 4 losses and 1 draw).
|Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks||Sydney Roosters|
|1||Josh Dugan||James Tedesco|
|2||Sosaia Feki||Reece Robinson|
|3||Jesse Ramien||Latrell Mitchell|
|4||Ricky Leutele||Joseph Manu|
|5||Valentine Holmes||Blake Ferguson|
|6||Matt Moylan||Luke Keary|
|7||Chad Townsend||Cooper Cronk|
|8||Andrew Fifita||Sio Siua Taukeiaho|
|9||Jayden Brailey||Jake Friend|
|10||Matt Prior||Dylan Napa|
|11||Luke Lewis||Boyd Cordner|
|12||Wade Graham||Ryan Matterson|
|13||Paul Gallen||Isaac Liu|
|14||Kurt Capewell||Jared Waerea-Hargreaves|
|15||James Segeyaro||Zane Tetevano|
|16||Ava Seumanufagai||Mitchell Aubusson|
|17||Joseph Paulo||Victor Radley|
|18||Trent Hodkinson||Nat Butcher|
|19||Kurt Dillon||Kurt Baptiste|
|20||Edrick Lee||Mitchell Cornish|
|21||Jack Williams||Lindsay Collins|
The facts that matter
After displaying some alarming deficiencies in defence against the Cowboys and Dragons, the Sharks have tightened up in a massive way, by restricting the Eels to one try and, more tellingly, holding the Storm scoreless for the second time in their last three encounters since the 2016 grand final. Moreover, they would frustrate their opponents (particularly the Storm) into conceding some needless penalties. In addition, highlighting how impressive their victory was over the defending premiers is the fact that they would force the Storm into making some uncharacteristic errors.
For their own measure, the Sharks have gradually minimised their error count, which is vital, when you consider they were the biggest culprits for poor ball security in 2017. This means their completion rate has improved to be over 70% in their last two matches. Another vital stat contributing to their impressive form is the fact that they have made 1638 and 1222 metres against the Eels and Storm, respectively. Conversely, they would restrict their aforementioned previous opponents to 1236 and 1179 metres, respectively.
For the Roosters, after convincing victories against the Bulldogs and Knights, they were brought back to Earth with a massive thud, being destroyed by a rampant Warriors side. Despite the surprising result, the statistics are very apparent as to why this is the case.
In attack, the Roosters laboured for 877 metres out of 100 runs, and only made 4 offloads, in contrast to 16 by their opponents. Moreover, the Roosters committed 13 errors, to the Warriors’ 9. This contributed to a deplorable completion rate of only 59%. In defence, the tricolours missed 35 tackles to the Warriors’ 28, and conceded 11 penalties to their opponents’ 8.
When you consider the usual discipline that the Chooks employ with regards to their defence, as well as their attack, the aforementioned statistics are not only surprising, but also very unlike the Roosters. Therefore, there is little doubt that Trent Robinson will be drilling it home into his players to put this right.
As stated earlier, the Sharks will be super keen to win this match to secure a third consecutive victory. Moreover, the Sharkies will be desperate to improve on their form at home from last season, as it was rather ordinary, especially considering they were the defending premiers. Given the fact that they are on a winning streak, they are certainly well placed to secure victory in front of their fans.
Although the Roosters have recently encountered some difficulties when playing the Sharks, one thing in their favour is the result of their most recent encounter, in which the tricolours escaped with the two points, causing the Sharks to miss out on a top 4 spot. With their latest setback, they have all the motivation they need to return to the winners’ circle, and restore some credibility into their tag as premiership favourites.
I expect this to be a closely fought encounter, in which the Sharks will employ their strengths in defence. That being said, the Roosters are also renowned for their strong defensive capabilities, which is why I expect this match to be an arm wrestle. In a toss of the coin, I think the Sharks will do enough and win by 2 points, to thereby secure a third consecutive victory and consign the Roosters to another loss.
Who will come out on top when the Sharks host the Roosters? Let us know in the comments and poll below.