Fresh off a bye, the Sharks will meet a hot-and-cold Roosters side on Friday evening at PointsBet Stadium as they eye a leap back into the top eight.
Cronulla watched Round 6 from afar thanks to a bye after a shock defeat at the hands of Warriors the week prior in which they surrendered a 20-point, first-half lead to lose the game in the dying stages.
The Roosters, meanwhile, are coming off a disappointing 28-8 loss to the Storm in Melbourne without star fullback James Tedesco.
The Sharks have been forced into a pair of changes; lock Dale Finucane was hit with a three-week ban for a hip-drop tackle on Warriors fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad whilst prop Toby Rudolf suffered toe injury set to sideline him for up to 12 weeks.
Cameron McInnes has been promoted from the interchange into the starting 13 jersey left vacant by Finucane’s suspension whilst Royce Hunt starts in place of Rudolf.
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Skipper Wade Graham returns from suspension to line-up on the interchange whilst Oregon Kaufusi also comes onto the bench after a concussion hiatus.
Braydon Trindall has been omitted with Tom Hazelton – a towering prop who made his NRL debut against the tricolours last season – taking his place.
As for the Roosters, Tedesco has been named to return after missing last week due to a concussion with Joseph Manu shifting back into the centres, Drew Hutchison back to the interchange, and Jake Turpin out of the side.
Matt Lodge also comes back into the side for his first appearance since Round 1 joining the bench along with Naufahu Whyte.
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Fletcher Baker – who suffered a head knock against Melbourne – and Corey Allan drop out of the side.
The Roosters have owned this matchup in recent years having won their previous seven matches against Cronulla.
The winning streak extends back to late-2017 and includes a 2018 postseason clash.
The Roosters have won their last four games at PointsBet Stadium and have restricted the Sharks to three tries or less in all four outings.
The sides met once last year with the Roosters coming away with a decisive 36-16 win at PointsBet Stadium in Round 12.
This firms as a key test for the Sharks who have lost three of their opening five games this season after exiting last season in straight-sets.
They will face the Bulldogs, Cowboys, Dolphins and Sea Eagles throughout the month following this one in what could prove a pivotal stretch for the group.
The Roosters enter this one as favourites with bookmakers projecting them to extend their unbeaten streak against Cronulla to eight games and hand the hosts their fourth loss of 2023.
Kick-off: Friday 14 April (6:00pm), PointsBet Stadium
Sharks squad: 1. Kennedy; 2. Katoa; 3. Ramien; 4. Talakai; 5. Mulitalo; 6. Moylan; 7. Hynes; 8. Hunt; 9. Brailey; 10. Hamlin-Uele; 11. Nikora; 12. Wilton; 13.McInnes; 14. Graham (c); 15. Williams; 16. Kaufusi; 17. Hazelton; 18. Trindall; 19. Tracey; 20; Hau Tapuha; 21. Hiroti; 22. Berrell
Roosters squad: 1. Tedesco (c); 2. Tupou; 3. Sua’ali’i; 4. Manu; 5. Paulo; 6. Keary; 7. Walker; 8. Waerea-Hargreaves; 9. Smith; 10. Collins; 11. E Butcher; 12. N Butcher; 13. Radley; 14. Hutchison; 15. Whyte; 16. May; 17. Lodge; 18. Allan; 19. Wong; 20. Momirovski; 21. Turpin; 22. El-Zakhem
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