Thu, May 2, 7:07pm by Rob Sheeley
Match: Newcastle Knights vs Cronulla Sharks – NRL Round 8
When/Where: 2:00pm Sunday, 5 May 2013 at Hunter Stadium
AG Recommended Bookie: www.Centrebet.com
The Knights return home this weekend after a successful trip to the Gold Coast last weekend. The Knights have caught the eye of many keen judges in the last couple of weeks and may well be flying under the radar. They currently sit in fifth place and are $13 to win the premiership.
Given the form of their opponents, the Knights will be looking to extend their current winning streak to three in this game.
The Sharks season has taken a turn for the worst. The Cronulla club registered their fourth consecutive loss last Sunday against a side who were running sixteenth going into the game. The Sharks are currently in eleventh and rated as $34 chances to win the premiership.
If the myriad of off field dramas hasn’t already proved too much for the players, this week won’t be any easier. ASADA has initiated their player interviews with the club, which will provide a further distraction to their preparations.
The odds below are current as of Thursday at 7:00pm. For the latest odds, please visit Centrebet.com.
Head to Head Bets
Knights – $1.36
Sharks – $3.25
Knights 1-12 – $3.10
Knights 13+ – $2.30
Sharks 1-12 – $4.75
Sharks 13+ – $8.00
Knights -8.5 – $1.91
Sharks +8.5 – $1.91
• Knights have won their last 5 against the Sharks.
• The sides have met 41 times. Knights have won 25, Sharks 15, 1 draw.
• Knights have won 5 of their last 7 at Hunter Stadium.
• Sharks have lost their last 4 at Hunter Stadium.
The Knights have made very few changes from last weekend’s match. Kurt Gidley has been named back at hooker with Tyrone Roberts back at half back. Neville Costigan will start on the bench with Korbin Sims named as eighteenth man.
1. Darius Boyd
2. James McManus
3. Dane Gagai
4. Timana Tahu
5. Akuila Uate
6. Jarrod Mullen
7. Tyrone Roberts
8. Kade Snowden
9. Kurt Gidley (c)
10. Willie Mason
11. Robbie Rochow
12. Alex McKinnon
13. Chris Houston
14. Travis Waddell
15. Neville Costigan
16. Adam Cuthbertson
17. David Fa’alogo
18. Korbin Sims
Newcastle are ticking along nicely after an indifferent start to the season. They find themselves in fifth place and stealthily sneaking along under the radar. The Wayne Bennett coached outfit look like they could be anything this season; if they put their mind to it.
The Knights made the most of every opportunity against the injury ravaged Titans last week. They were clinical in putting their opposition to the sword 30-6. The other positive for the Knights is that it was their first win away from home in 2013.
Despite winning in Round 6, the Knights were far from convincing. After leading 8-0 at half time against the Panthers, Newcastle clung on to just win 8-6.
In Round 5, the Knights were defeated by the Dragons in a game they were expected to win. This was another example of their form being a little sporadic. Whilst they are winning enough, they are losing games that they appear good enough to win.
There is no doubting the Knights ability as a rugby league team, if Wayne Bennett can mould them into a consistent unit, then the sky is the limit.
Coach Shane Flanagan has given his players a chance to atone for last week by naming the same team that took on the Bulldogs. Sam Tagataese has been named as eighteenth man on an extended bench.
1. Michael Gordon
2. Nathan Stapleton
3. Ben Pomeroy
4. Jonathan Wright
5. Beau Ryan
6. Todd Carney
7. Jeff Robson
8. Andrew Fifita
9. John Morris
10. Ben Ross
11. Luke Lewis
12. Wade Graham
13. Paul Gallen (c)
14. Chris Heighington
15. Jayson Bukuya
16. Isaac De Gois
17. Anthony Tupou
18. Sam Tagataese
The Sharks have stolen the headlines again this week and it’s for all the wrong reasons. Whilst they dominate discussions off field, their form on the paddock isn’t giving fans much to talk about at all.
In Round 7, they appeared to create a myriad of scoring opportunities against the Bulldogs. Yet time and time again they managed to somehow squander chances. The scoreboard will show they were beaten comfortably (24-8). Reality is that they could have won that game.
In Round 6, the Sharks charged home late against Manly to lose by just seven points (25-18). It had been an improvement on their previous two outings. They showed some fight and gave a top three team a good run for their money.
Round 5 was not quite as positive. The Cronulla side performed poorly and were out enthused and out played by the Parramatta Eels. Although it may have been a reflection of off field distractions, it was well below what is expected from this Sharks line up.
The Sharks look to be a team in a slump. Travelling to Newcastle to attempt to turn the tables is an unenviable task but something that the Sharks have to believe they are capable of.
For Cronulla, ball handling and control is a real key this weekend. It wasn’t just the fact that they dropped a lot of ball last weekend, it was when they did it that hurt. Many scoring opportunities or at least chances to reapply pressure were squandered, an issue that would have been addressed this week.
Ben Pomeroy had a match to forget last weekend, look for him to improve this week after he was lucky to retain his place in the side. Michael Gordon will need to inject himself as often as possible from the back. Gordon has looked very dangerous in 2013 and needs to be part of as many plays as he can.
Todd Carney is the one man who can single handedly lift the Sharks out of the doldrums. Carney needs to lead by example and encourage his team mates to follow suit.
The Sharks forward pack has plenty of big names but may be under achieving at this point in time. They need to exhibit more aggression and really want to dominate their opponents.
The return of Dane Gagai last weekend is great for the Knights. Gagai is a real excitement machine and looks a player of the future.
The halves combination of Jarrod Mullen and Tyrone Roberts working in cahoots with hooker Kurt Gidley and fullback Darius Boyd looks the key for the Knights. Those four players working as a unit could be anything. They are the reason the Knights are going along so nicely.
Despite the obvious talent in the Sharks outfit, I cannot tip them on last week’s woeful showing. They take on a hot team who is playing at home and Newcastle simply look to have too much for the out of form Cronulla team.
Knights by 10
Get a $200 NRL Round 8 Free Bet at Centrebet.com
The Knights look decent at $1.36 in the head to head market.
James McManus is $9 to score the first try of the match and has been good to us so far in 2013, we will stick with him again.
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