Bulldogs v Sharks: Martin, Moylan cleared to play
The Bulldogs are pushing for three successive wins to finish off 2018 on a positive note, while the Sharks have the chance to secure a spot in the all important top four if they get the job done at Homebush.
Dean Pay's men were outstanding at Jubilee Oval last Sunday, hammering the Dragons 38-0, with Cronulla comfortably beating the Knights 38-12 in the Shire.
This clash should be a beauty.
Match: Bulldogs v Sharks
Round 25 -
Venue: ANZ Stadium
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS
Key match-up: Lachlan Lewis v Matt Moylan. Canterbury's young gun has looked like a seasoned veteran after making his debut in round 16 against the Knights. His kicking game and terrific defence has plenty of good judges singing his praises. This weekend he faces a real test of character in the form of Matt Moylan. The Sharks pivot is expected to return from a hamstring injury and no doubt will be keen to show his coach Shane Flanagan he is a must selection in the halves alongside Chad Townsend with the semi-finals looming.
For the Bulldogs to win: Give Reimis Smith the ball. The electric winger was brilliant against the Dragons, finishing with a hat-trick at Jubilee Oval. The 21-year-old could be a future representative star, such is his obvious talent. Prop David Klemmer has been in sensational form all year, carrying the pack himself at times. Watch for the enforcer to be at his best in his final club game for 2018.
For the Sharks to win: Fire up Andrew Fifita. The controversial front-rower seems to play his best footy when angry - just ask the Cowboys recently, who couldn't contain the firebrand in the round 23 encounter at Southern Cross Group Stadium. Valentine Holmes will also be looking to cross for his 21st try of the year.
Bulldogs Stat Attack: Dean Pay's men have comfortably accumulated the most post-contact metres (12,205) in the competition. They also lead the competition for total runs (4047), tied with the Dragons. Collectively they are sharp shooters when converting tries, kicking at an impressive 87%.
Sharks Stat Attack: Val Holmes has been outstanding all year, producing the most line breaks (23) ahead of Manly's Tom Trbojevic (19) and Canberra utility back Nick Cotric (19). Andrew Fifita needs to work on his discipline, conceding 31 penalties, equal with Manly lock Jake Trbojevic.
And another thing: Aaron Woods would be confused for having mixed emotions this Sunday. He will come off the bench for Cronulla against the team he started pre-season training with at Belmore. Woods can be comforted by the fact he will play finals footy this year - for the first time since 2011, where he was an emerging talent with the Tigers.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, Sunday 2pm at ANZ Stadium
Fullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Will HopoateFullback for Sharks is number 1 Valentine Holmes
Winger for Bulldogs is number 2 Brett MorrisWinger for Sharks is number 2 Sosaia Feki
Centre for Bulldogs is number 3 Josh MorrisCentre for Sharks is number 3 Josh Dugan
Centre for Bulldogs is number 4 Kerrod HollandCentre for Sharks is number 4 Kurt Capewell
Winger for Bulldogs is number 5 Reimis SmithWinger for Sharks is number 5 Edrick Lee
Five-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Lachlan LewisFive-Eighth for Sharks is number 6 Matt Moylan
Halfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Matt FrawleyHalfback for Sharks is number 7 Chad Townsend
Prop for Bulldogs is number 8 Aiden TolmanProp for Sharks is number 8 Andrew Fifita
Hooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Michael LichaaHooker for Sharks is number 9 Jayden Brailey
Prop for Bulldogs is number 10 David KlemmerProp for Sharks is number 10 Matt Prior
2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Josh Jackson2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Luke Lewis
2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 12 Rhyse Martin2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Wade Graham
Lock for Bulldogs is number 13 Adam ElliottLock for Sharks is number 13 Paul Gallen
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Jeremy Marshall-KingInterchange for Sharks is number 14 Scott Sorensen
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 15 Danny FualaloInterchange for Sharks is number 15 James Segeyaro
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 16 Ofahiki OgdenInterchange for Sharks is number 16 Aaron Woods
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 17 Greg EastwoodInterchange for Sharks is number 17 Jayson Bukuya
Bulldogs: The Bulldogs are unchanged, with back-rower Rhyse Martin (knee) named despite failing to finish the game last week. Renouf Toomaga and John Olive are on standby as reserves, while Francis Tualau and Fa'amanu Brown were cut 24 hours prior to kick-off. Renouf Toomaga and John Olive were omitted on game day.
Sharks: Matt Moylan (hamstring) returns at five-eighth for Kyle Flanagan, who is listed as a reserve with Joseph Paulo. Jesse Ramien's return from an ankle injury has been delayed a week while Ava Seumanufagai was also omitted on Saturday. Kyle Flanagan and Joseph Paulo were cut an hour before kick-off.
Head-to-head: Played 90; Bulldogs 54 wins, Sharks 34 wins, 2 draws
Previous result: Sharks won 22-16 in Cronulla in round 11
Points per game: Bulldogs 17.8; Sharks 21.3
Points conceded per game: Bulldogs 19.3; Sharks 17.6
Televised: Live on Fox League
Petero Civoniceva's prediction: Cronulla know what it takes to win a premiership and their experienced players are coming to the fore as we hit the finals. The Bulldogs were great last week and they can be proud of the way they have finished the season. Dean Pay's men will push the Sharks all the way and give them a good hitout a week before the semis.
Tip: Sharks by 8