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Cronulla are hoping it will be a case of third time lucky against Canterbury Bankstown after successive late-game defeats to the Roosters and Knights.

The Sharks coughed up the lead in those matches with eight and three minutes left, respectively, and have tumbled out of the top eight as a result.

The clash with Canterbury presents the Sharks with a great opportunity to change their season's narrative and news that play-maker Shaun Johnson could be making his return adds to the positive vibes.

The Bulldogs have finally got their attack working after going scoreless in three consecutive matches but back-to-back three-try efforts haven't been enough to compensate for a leaky defence.

Canterbury are conceding 34 points a game in 2021 and have only held their opponents to fewer than 30 points in two of their six matches.

Sharks v Bulldogs

The rundown

Team news

Sharks: Matt Moylan (quad) is out of the Cronulla side, with Shaun Johnson returning from his Achilles injury and starting at five-eighth while Braydon Trindall is added to the bench. Franklin Pele is the 18th man.

Josh Dugan will return in the centres after missing last week's game due to a head knock suffered in round five so Teig Wilton has gone back to the second row and Jack Williams to the bench.

Former Storm star Will Chambers was included as a reserve for his new club but was omitted on Friday, along with Jenson Taumoepau, and is likely to play for Newtown to gain match fitness.

Skipper Wade Graham remains sidelined as he continues his concussion recovery while Aiden Tolman will miss the match after taking an early guilty plea on a crusher tackle charge.

The Sharks have won six of their past seven games against the Bulldogs.

Bulldogs: Nick Meaney has been promoted from the reserves to fullback for the injured Dallin Watene-Zelezniak. 

Dylan Napa and Luke Thompson are the new starting props with Jack Hetherington suspended and Renouf Atoni named on the bench after starting last week in the front row.

Chris Smith has been promoted from the bench to start in the second row while Jackson Topine is out with bone bruising on his knee and Ofahiki Ogden has been left out.

The three new faces on the bench are Brad Deitz, Ava Seumanufagai and Matt Doorey.

Brandon Wakeham is the 18th man, with Lachlan Lewis, Joe Stimson and Aaron Schoupp dropping out of the initial 21-man squad named on Tuesday.

Winger Nick Cotric will make his 100th NRL appearance.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Sharks is number 1 William Kennedy
    Fullback for Bulldogs is number 21 Nick Meaney
  • Winger for Sharks is number 2 Mawene Hiroti
    Winger for Bulldogs is number 2 Nick Cotric
  • Centre for Sharks is number 3 Josh Dugan
    Centre for Bulldogs is number 3 Will Hopoate
  • Centre for Sharks is number 4 Jesse Ramien
    Centre for Bulldogs is number 4 Corey Allan
  • Winger for Sharks is number 5 Connor Tracey
    Winger for Bulldogs is number 5 Tuipulotu Katoa
  • Five-Eighth for Sharks is number 15 Shaun Johnson
    Five-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Jake Averillo
  • Halfback for Sharks is number 7 Chad Townsend
    Halfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Kyle Flanagan

Forwards

  • Prop for Sharks is number 8 Braden Hamlin-Uele
    Prop for Bulldogs is number 8 Dylan Napa
  • Hooker for Sharks is number 9 Blayke Brailey
    Hooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Sione Katoa
  • Prop for Sharks is number 10 Aaron Woods
    Prop for Bulldogs is number 10 Luke Thompson
  • 2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Briton Nikora
    2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Adam Elliott
  • 2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Teig Wilton
    2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 12 Chris Smith
  • Lock for Sharks is number 13 Toby Rudolf
    Lock for Bulldogs is number 13 Corey Waddell

Interchange

  • Interchange for Sharks is number 14 Billy Magoulias
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Bradley Deitz
  • Interchange for Sharks is number 16 Jack Williams
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 15 Renouf Atoni
  • Interchange for Sharks is number 17 Siosifa Talakai
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 16 Ava Seumanufagai
  • Interchange for Sharks is number 18 Braydon Trindall
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 17 Matt Doorey

Reserves

  • Reserve for Sharks is number 20 Franklin Pele
    Reserve for Bulldogs is number 25 Brandon Wakeham

Match Officials

  • Referee: Chris Butler
  • Touch Judge: Drew Oultram
  • Touch Judge: Jon Stone
  • Senior Review Official: Alan Shortall

Last updated:

Key match-up

Chad Townsend v Kyle Flanagan: If a series of events not linked to this pair had played out differently, Flanagan could be the one wearing the Sharks No.7 jersey in this match. Instead, after a season at the Roosters, he is now in Canterbury colours and hoping to get the better of his junior club.

Townsend, meanwhile, will want to put a pair of tough games against the Roosters and Knights well behind him.

Stat attack

If last-placed Canterbury can't get past the hard-luck Sharks this week they look in grave danger of blowing past their club record losing streak of 11 (1955/56 and 1965/66). The Bulldogs have lost seven in a row stretching back to round 20 last season and after their round seven date with Cronulla face consecutive games against the Eels, Dragons, Raiders, Titans, Panthers, Eels, and Dragons. 

 

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