The Sharks chalked up win No.5 last week, coming from behind to take a game that could've easily slipped from their grasp.
Other teams might've taken the soft option, but the Sharks proved once again they have arguably the strongest never-say-die conviction of any side in the NRL, defying a mounting injury toll to claim a 26-18 victory over the Titans.
On Sunday they find themselves in the unusual position of facing an opponent with a similarly long list of injuries.
The Sea Eagles have probably over-achieved thus far and it wasn't all that surprising to see them finally hit the wall against the Broncos. It'll be interesting to see how Manly bounce back.
Match: Sharks v Sea Eagles
Round 10 -
Venue: PointsBet Stadium, Sydney
Sharks: Andrew Fifita (hamstring) will take part in his 200th NRL appearance and Matt Prior (neck) has also been cleared with Cronulla to run out 1-17. The Sharks have won five of their past six games at PointsBet Stadium.
Sea Eagles: The return of Dylan Walker in the centres for his first game of the season is a huge boost for Des Hasler's side. Cade Cust will debut at five-eighth following the withdrawal of Lachlan Croker (hamstring). Jorge Taufua (calf) and Addin Fonua-Blake (knee) return which helps offset the loss of Moses Suli (finger) and Toafofoa Sipley (knee). Curtis Sironen shifts from five-eighth back to the pack and Jack Gosiewski goes back to the bench.
Match: Sharks v Sea Eagles
Round 10 -
Fullback for Sharks is number 1 Josh DuganFullback for Sea Eagles is number 1 Brendan Elliot
Winger for Sharks is number 2 Sosaia FekiWinger for Sea Eagles is number 2 Jorge Taufua
Centre for Sharks is number 3 Bronson XerriCentre for Sea Eagles is number 3 Dylan Walker
Centre for Sharks is number 4 Josh MorrisCentre for Sea Eagles is number 4 Brad Parker
Winger for Sharks is number 5 Aaron GrayWinger for Sea Eagles is number 5 Reuben Garrick
Five-Eighth for Sharks is number 6 Kyle FlanaganFive-Eighth for Sea Eagles is number 19 Cade Cust
Halfback for Sharks is number 7 Chad TownsendHalfback for Sea Eagles is number 7 Kane Elgey
Prop for Sharks is number 8 Andrew FifitaProp for Sea Eagles is number 8 Addin Fonua-Blake
Hooker for Sharks is number 9 Jayden BraileyHooker for Sea Eagles is number 9 Apisai Koroisau
Prop for Sharks is number 10 Matt PriorProp for Sea Eagles is number 10 Martin Taupau
2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Briton Nikora2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 11 Joel Thompson
2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Kurt Capewell2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 12 Curtis Sironen
Lock for Sharks is number 13 Paul GallenLock for Sea Eagles is number 13 Jake Trbojevic
Interchange for Sharks is number 14 Blayke BraileyInterchange for Sea Eagles is number 14 Manase Fainu
Interchange for Sharks is number 15 Jayson BukuyaInterchange for Sea Eagles is number 15 Jack Gosiewski
Interchange for Sharks is number 16 Jack WilliamsInterchange for Sea Eagles is number 16 Corey Waddell
Interchange for Sharks is number 17 Braden Hamlin-UeleInterchange for Sea Eagles is number 17 Morgan Boyle
- Referee: Ashley Klein
- Referee: Matt Cecchin
- Touch Judge: Tim Roby
The old bull Paul Gallen versus the young bull Jake Trbojevic. With the Sharks picking up more injuries last week to Andrew Fifita (hamstring) and Matt Prior (neck), Gallen will need a sip from the fountain of youth this week to get him ready to play more minutes than usual against the tireless Trbojevic.
For the Sharks to win
As mentioned, Gallen will have to play like a younger version of himself and inspire what shapes as a young pack if Fifita and Prior are ruled out. Chad Townsend has proved invaluable for the injury-hit Sharks and should give his team an edge against Manly's makeshift halves.
For the Sea Eagles to win
Injuries haven't been kind to Manly but you get the feeling Des Hasler flat out refuses to let his team use the growing casualty list as an excuse. Hasler might have to make more forced changes this week after the Magic Round loss to the Broncos and will be counting on his senior players to provide leadership and poise under pressure.
Brett Kimmorley says
The young kids at the Sharks are going great. It's a big week for them; they've beaten the Storm and the Titans and they want to keep this roll going. Des Hasler is doing a very good job with Manly this year but that was probably their worst game of the season last week against Brisbane. He'll be asking for them to respond and get into the contest this week. But if the Sharks can get the likes of Bronson Xerri some early ball I think Cronulla can get their third win on the trot. Sharks by 4.
Chad Townsend is always ready to back up a teammate, with the Sharks halfback leading the NRL in support play (161), while Manly lock Jake Trbojevic is the leader in all runs (160). The Sharks lead all teams in line break assists (31) and are equal third in line breaks (40).
And another thing ...
With all the talk swirling around the Blues' halves for the Origin series-opener at Suncorp Stadium, barely a whisper has been heard about Chad Townsend. A two-time City Origin rep, Sydney-born Townsend might never get a taste of State of Origin, but the Cronulla playmaker has matured into one of the game's elite halfbacks and barely takes a wrong option these days. The Sharks have been ravaged by injuries but Townsend's steady play is the main reason they have managed to maintain a winning record.