Thu, May 9, 12:13pm by Rob Sheeley
Match: Wests Tigers vs Cronulla Sharks – NRL Round 9
When/Where: 7:35pm Friday, 10 May 2013 at Allianz Stadium
NRL OZ Bookie of the Week: www.Bet365.com
The Tigers have been heavily decimated by injury in recent times and will this week host the Sharks who defied all odds to defeat the Knights in Newcastle last Sunday.
The Tigers were missing more than half of their regular starting side when they took on the Bulldogs last weekend and were unable to be competitive. In the end it was a heavy thirty six point defeat (40-4). They will desperately want to atone for that.
The Tigers currently languish at the bottom of the NRL ladder and are $201 premiership chances. They have not won since way back in Round 3.
The Sharks were long priced outsiders to win against the Knights in Newcastle last Sunday. After losing their star forward Paul Gallen in the opening minutes, their chances looked forlorn. The Sharks defied all the odds to win in a golden point thriller.
They may well be missing Gallen again this week but will still be expected to win. The Sharks are currently in eleventh and rated a $41 premiership hope by bookies.
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Head to Head Odds
Tigers – $2.65
Sharks – $1.50
Tigers 1-12 – $4.15
Tigers 13+ – $6.00
Sharks 1-12 – $3.10
Sharks 13+ – $2.75
Tigers +6.5 – $1.91
Sharks -6.5 – $1.91
• Tigers have won 4 of their last 5 against the Sharks.
• The Tigers & Sharks have met 21 times. Tigers have won 15, Sharks 5, 1 draw.
• Tigers have lost 6 of their last 7 at Allianz Stadium.
• Sharks have lost 7 of their last 8 at Allianz Stadium.
Michael Potter has made a few changes for the Tigers with Suaso Sue being named at prop. Tim Simona will move into the centres whilst Bodene Thompson is back on the bench.
1. James Tedesco
2. Matt Utai
3. Joel Reddy
4. Tim Simona
5. Marika Koroibete
6. Benji Marshall
7. Curtis Sironen
8. Aaron Woods
9. Robbie Farah (c)
10. Suaso Sue
11. Liam Fulton
12. Adam Blair
13. Eddy Pettybourne
14. Ben Murdoch-Masila
15. Jack Buchanan
16. Sean Spence
17. Bodene Thompson
The Tigers are coming off five losses in a row and will be desperate to change that form in Round 9. They continue to struggle with a number of key players injured which does not help the cause.
The under strength Tigers could not compete with the Bulldogs last weekend and were dealt a thirty six point shellacking (40-4). This does not augur well for this week’s match with the Sharks coming off a big win.
In Round 7 against the Broncos, injury hit the battling Tigers hard. The Tigers players were literally dropping like flies. At one stage they were reduced to just twelve men. They still managed to fight hard and were far from disgraced in a ten point loss (20-10).
In Round 6, the Tigers came oh so close to notching their third victory for 2013. After trailing by twelve points at half time to the Dragons, the Tigers fought back to level the scores, only to be denied by a Jamie Soward field goal.
In Round 5, the Tigers looked like they were about to pull off the upset of the season. They led the Melbourne Storm deep into the second half after executing a game plan to slow down the speed of the rucks superbly. The Storm managed to find form in the last ten minutes to blow the Tigers away, but not without a scare.
The Tigers have shown glimpses of brilliance in 2013 but it has been surrounded by some mediocre play. They will need to be on their best this weekend or face another loss.
The Sharks have made just one change from the side that upset the Knights last week. Paul Gallen is out for the match and has been replaced by Chris Heighington in the starting lineup with Jayson Bukuya moving onto the bench.
1. Michael Gordon
2. Sosaia Feki
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. Chris Heighington
14. Isaac De Gois
15. Sam Tagataese
16. Jayson Bukuya
17. Anthony Tupou
18. Mark Taufua
The Sharks hauled themselves out of a slump last weekend with an upset win against the Knights. Despite losing their captain Paul Gallen in the opening minutes the Cronulla side showed tenacity and fight to win in golden point (21-20). This was a sharp improvement on what had been a woeful few weeks for the embattled club.
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 have found some form and improved when it was least expected. They have a golden opportunity here to make it two in a row.
With the Tigers still decimated by injury, they will need their senior players to play a major role in this game. Robbie Farah and Benji Marshall will be looked upon by less experienced players to lead by example.
One thing the Tigers are not lacking is grunt in the forwards. With Adam Blair and Aaron Woods leading the way, supported by the tireless Liam Fulton and creative Eddy Pettybourne, they can more than match it with the Sharks pack.
With the Cronulla forward pack being without Paul Gallen, they will require that little bit extra from all of their forwards, just like the form they produced last weekend. If they fail to dominate, it will bring the Tigers right into this match.
Todd Carney’s clash with Benji Marshall is all important. Carney has a much more direct style than Marshall who tends to try and create more laterally. This should make it an interesting matchup.
The other key matchup looks to be that of the two fullbacks. James Tedesco was sensational for the Tigers last week in a losing team and continues to get better every week. Michael Gordon has produced some of the best form of his career during his short tenure at that Cronulla club. Look for both of these players to be chiming in during attacking raids by their respective teams.
Purely on recent form the Sharks look to have the edge going into this. With the confidence of last week coupled with the Tigers still missing plenty of players, I’ll have to go with the Sharks.
My Tigers vs. Sharks Prediction: Sharks by 8
The Sharks look tremendous value in the head to head market at $1.50 at Bet365.com.
The Sharks by 1-12 is also an inviting price at $3.10
For the first try scorer of the match I like Beau Ryan at $9 up against his old club.
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