Canberra rested almost their entire first grade side last weekend and still beat the Sharks team they will face again in Saturday's elimination final.
Add to that the fact the Sharks haven't beaten another top-eight side all season and the form line isn't great for John Morris's team.
But, such is the nature of sport, Cronulla will enter Saturday's elimination final at GIO Stadium knowing a fast start will boost their confidence levels and put some doubt in the minds of a Raiders side widely expected to win.
Canberra's 14-6 record during the home-and-away season meant they only missed out on a top-four finish on account of points differential.
Match: Raiders v Sharks
Finals Week 1 -
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Raiders: Sia Soliola will start with Dunamis Lui coming off the interchange. Second-rower John Bateman (elbow), fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (ribs), winger Jordan Rapana (knee) and halfback George Williams (head knock) have recovered from minor injuries and will play.
Centre Jarrod Croker, five-eighth Jack Wighton, second-rower Elliott Whitehead, prop Josh Papalii and lock Joe Tapine are also back after a rest. Forwards Hudson Young and Corey Harawira-Naera have gone to the bench alongside Sia Soliola and Siliva Havili.
Kai O'Donnell, Darby Medlyn, Jarrett Subloo and the injured Ryan Sutton (knee) have dropped off the interchange.
Sam Williams and Matthew Timoko were omitted from the squad on game day after O'Donnell and Michael Oldfield dropped out 24 hours before kick-off.
Sharks: Toby Rudolf starts with Aaron Woods to come off the bench.
Halfback Chad Townsend will return from suspension with winger Sione Katoa (leg) and centre Josh Dugan (knee) will come back from minor injuries. Hooker Blayke Brailey, lock Toby Rudolf and bench forward Siosifa Talakai are also back after a rest.
Wade Graham has returned to the back row from five-eighth, while Scott Sorensen has dropped to the bench and Nene Macdonald, Mawene Hiroti, Teig Wilton, Billy Magoulias and Daniel Vasquez are all out.
Braydon Trindall and Bryson Goodwin were the first two players cut from the squad on Friday and Teig Wilton and Mawene Hiroti dropped out an hour before kick-off.
Match: Raiders v Sharks
Finals Week 1 -
Fullback for Raiders is number 1 Charnze Nicoll-KlokstadFullback for Sharks is number 1 William Kennedy
Winger for Raiders is number 2 Semi ValemeiWinger for Sharks is number 2 Sione Katoa
Centre for Raiders is number 3 Jarrod CrokerCentre for Sharks is number 3 Josh Dugan
Centre for Raiders is number 4 Jordan RapanaCentre for Sharks is number 4 Jesse Ramien
Winger for Raiders is number 5 Nick CotricWinger for Sharks is number 5 Ronaldo Mulitalo
Five-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Jack WightonFive-Eighth for Sharks is number 6 Connor Tracey
Halfback for Raiders is number 7 George WilliamsHalfback for Sharks is number 7 Chad Townsend
Prop for Raiders is number 8 Josh PapaliiProp for Sharks is number 8 Braden Hamlin-Uele
Hooker for Raiders is number 9 Tom StarlingHooker for Sharks is number 9 Blayke Brailey
Prop for Raiders is number 15 Iosia SoliolaProp for Sharks is number 13 Toby Rudolf
2nd Row for Raiders is number 11 John Bateman2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Briton Nikora
2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Elliott Whitehead2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Wade Graham
Lock for Raiders is number 13 Joseph TapineLock for Sharks is number 14 Siosifa Talakai
Interchange for Raiders is number 10 Dunamis LuiInterchange for Sharks is number 10 Aaron Woods
Interchange for Raiders is number 14 Siliva HaviliInterchange for Sharks is number 15 Scott Sorensen
Interchange for Raiders is number 16 Hudson YoungInterchange for Sharks is number 16 Andrew Fifita
Interchange for Raiders is number 17 Corey Harawira-NaeraInterchange for Sharks is number 17 Jack Williams
- Referee: Grant Atkins
- Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
- Touch Judge: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
- Senior Review Official: Jared Maxwell
Josh Papalii v Aaron Woods. Papalii is the Maroons and Test prop, Woods was once the Blues and Test prop. If Woods is able to wind back the clock and match it with the highly-impressive Papalii, the Sharks can go from there.
If big Papa causes havoc in the middle of the park it could be a long night for Cronulla.
Of the sides in the finals, the Sharks conceded the most points - by quite a distance. In 20 matches they had 480 (24 per match) scored against them. The Raiders allowed 317 (15.85 per match).