If the Warriors and Sharks miss the finals they will only have themselves to blame.
Despite running hot and cold all season the Warriors have somehow managed to stay in the hunt for a top eight finish.
But their window of opportunity is closing fast.
The Sharks battled admirably in the face of adversity through the first half of the season but the wheels have fallen off over the past month or so and they're under pressure to stay in the eight.
Match: Warriors v Sharks
Round 18 -
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Warriors: Both regular wingers are out. Adam Pompey came in for David Fusitu'a (hamstring) when final teams were announced after Ken Maumalo (concussion) was replaced by Blayke Ashford earlier. Ligi Sao was the other player to drop out of the final 17 after Chris Satae was cut on Thursday.
Sharks: Billy Magoulias and William Kennedy are the final cuts for Cronulla. Aaron Gray (knee) is out with Ronaldo Mulitalo into the side on the wing while Kyle Flanagan also dropped out of the 19-man squad 24 hours before kick-off. Shaun Johnson (ankle) is fit to play but Josh Morris (broken nose) and Josh Dugan (hamstring) are sidelined. Matt Moylan returns from a hamstring injury at fullback and Kurt Capewell will play centre. Paul Gallen returns from injury at lock and Scott Sorensen is in the second row. Matt Prior goes back to the bench and Jayson Bukuya goes out.
Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Roger Tuivasa-SheckFullback for Sharks is number 1 Matt Moylan
Winger for Warriors is number 18 Adam PompeyWinger for Sharks is number 2 Sosaia Feki
Centre for Warriors is number 3 Peta HikuCentre for Sharks is number 3 Bronson Xerri
Centre for Warriors is number 4 Gerard BealeCentre for Sharks is number 4 Kurt Capewell
Winger for Warriors is number 21 Blake AyshfordWinger for Sharks is number 21 Ronaldo Mulitalo
Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Kodi NikorimaFive-Eighth for Sharks is number 6 Shaun Johnson
Halfback for Warriors is number 7 Blake GreenHalfback for Sharks is number 7 Chad Townsend
Prop for Warriors is number 8 Agnatius PaasiProp for Sharks is number 8 Andrew Fifita
Hooker for Warriors is number 9 Issac LukeHooker for Sharks is number 9 Jayden Brailey
Prop for Warriors is number 10 Leeson Ah MauProp for Sharks is number 10 Aaron Woods
2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Adam Blair2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Briton Nikora
2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Isaiah Papali'i2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Scott Sorensen
Lock for Warriors is number 13 Jazz TevagaLock for Sharks is number 13 Paul Gallen
Interchange for Warriors is number 14 Lachlan BurrInterchange for Sharks is number 14 Blayke Brailey
Interchange for Warriors is number 15 Sam LisoneInterchange for Sharks is number 15 Jack Williams
Interchange for Warriors is number 16 Bunty AfoaInterchange for Sharks is number 16 Braden Hamlin-Uele
Interchange for Warriors is number 17 Chanel Harris-TavitaInterchange for Sharks is number 17 Matt Prior
- Referee: Henry Perenara
- Referee: Phil Henderson
- Touch Judge: Tim Roby
- Touch Judge: Mark Bohan
- Video Referee: Beau Scott
- Senior Review Official: Jared Maxwell
The battle between front-row enforcers Agnatius Paasi and Andrew Fifita should bring lightning and thunder, while Chad Townsend has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders in his clash with Blake Green.
For the Warriors to win
Stephen Kearney would love to see his side put two good halves together. It's rarely happened this season and time is running out for the Warriors to prove they can not only make a late charge for the finals, but also make some noise if they get there. They need to play their own game on Friday and keep the Sharks out of their comfort zone.
For the Sharks to win
Injuries sure haven't been kind but the Sharks have to get back to playing their own brand of football and get some consistency out of their spine. With key players missing (as usual), Fifita and Matt Prior need to lead the way up front and every player has to lift his defensive effort.
Brett Kimmorley says
Not the usual home venue for the Warriors, but a great showpiece for the game in Wellington. I am looking forward to seeing Kodi Nikorima take on Shaun Johnson. It is a great challenge for both players. Cronulla are in a massive hole and this will be a tough road trip. Warriors by 2
Warriors winger Ken Maumalo continues to shine in 2019. Maumalo is first in the NRL in run meters (3088) and post-contact metres (1008), and second in runs (310), tries (12) and line breaks (12).
And another thing ...
The Warriors and Sharks squared off just once in 2018, with Cronulla prevailing 18-15 at Mt Smart Stadium. The Warriors pulled ahead 15-14 with Shaun Johnson's 73rd-minute field goal before the Sharks broke their hearts with Edrick Lee's 77th-minute try. Johnson is eager to face his former club but the Sharks halfback has battled injuries for most of the season and is no certainty to play.