Sharks travel to Homebush to take on undermanned Bulldogs

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The Sharks will face off against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Accor Stadium on Saturday evening in a bid to earn back-to-back wins for the first time in 2023.

Cronulla are coming off a much-needed 22-12 win over the Roosters at PointsBet Stadium thanks to another Nicho Hynes masterclass.

Canterbury, meanwhile, have conceded a combined 80 points over the past fortnight and are contending with an increasingly mounting injury toll.

First-year head coach Cameron Ciraldo’s squad are currently without the likes of Josh Addo-Carr, Viliame Kikau, Jacob Kiraz, Luke Thompson, Franklin Pele, Fa’amanu Brown and Chris Patolo.


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Sharks head coach Craig Fitzgibbon, on the other hand, has the luxury of being able to name the same 17 that finished on top of the Roosters on Friday night.

Dale Finucane will not be available for selection until Round 10 due to suspension.

For the Bulldogs, Kiraz’s injury means that Aquinas Colts junior Declan Casey has been named for his first NRL appearance of the year on the wing  with Jayden Okunbor dropping back to the interchange and Jackson Topine among the reserves.

Braidon Burns will line-up on the other wing for his first taste of NRL action for the season after being a late scratching in Round 7.

Kyle Flanagan and Matt Burton will also switch positions and spending the first month-and-a-half of the season at six and seven respectively.

Jake Averillo and Andrew Davey – who both picked up injury concerns in the Bulldogs’ last-start loss to Parramatta – have been named by Ciraldo.


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Canterbury have had little luck versus Cronulla in recent years with the Sharks having won nine of their past 11 against the blue-and-whites.

Cronulla won both matchups between the sides last year – an 18-6 Round 16 win in soppy CommBank Stadium conditions and a 16-0 Round 24 win in the Shire.

The Bulldogs currently lead the NRL in kick metres and 40/20s so expect the likes Matt Burton, Kyle Flanagan, and Reed Mahoney to attempt to turn Cronulla’s powerful forward pack around with clearing, early-set kicks.

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The Bulldogs are, however, also leading the premiership in penalties and are third in errors – ill-discipline has been an unwelcome theme for Ciraldo’s men throughout the season.

The Sharks were buoyed by a 14-4 penalty count in their favour last week which was compounded by a trio of Roosters spending time in the sin bin.

Should Canterbury’s habit of ill-discipline continue to rear its head at Homebush on Saturday evening, it could prove to be a long outing for the under-fire club who are currently sitting 15th on the ladder with three wins from seven matches.

The Sharks enter this one as short-priced favourites with the bookmakers expecting Canterbury’s losing streak to extend to three with several of their key men sidelined.


Game & Team Details

Kick-off: Saturday 22 April (5:30pm), Accor 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

Bulldogs squad: 1. Perham; 2. Casey; 3. Averillo; 4. Alamoti; 5. Burns; 6. Flanagan; 7. Burton (c); 8. King; 9. Mahoney; 10. Pangai Jr.; 11. Waddell; 12. Preston; 13. Faitala-Mariner; 14. Reynolds; 15. Okunbor; 16. Davey; 17. Sutton; 19. Oloapu; 20; Topine; 21. Hughes; 22. Skelton; 23. Hoffman


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