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Five weeks hasn't been long enough to erase memories for the Sharks of a 48-0 humiliation at BlueBet Stadium in round nine.

Panthers winger Brian To'o ran for 309 metres that night as Ivan Cleary's men piled on eight tries (To'o surprisingly wasn't one of them).

The best Shark was winger Connor Tracey with 120. Only three Cronulla players broke the 100-metre mark compared with 14 Panthers.

The Sharks won't want to offer that kind of performance before their home crowd  at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, or club memberships might be a hard sell next year. 

At least the Sharks are coming off the back of two straight wins with the most recent - 38-10 over the Titans - giving hope better times are ahead if the spine of fullback Will Kennedy, halves Matt Moylan and Shaun Johnson, and hooker Blayke Brailey can stay intact.

The foursome worked wonders in Coffs Harbour, helping create 11 line breaks to six.

Since the Panthers provided several players for the NSW Blues side, Ivan Cleary may again have to call on troops he used in the Wests Tigers loss, who would be keen to make amends.

The rundown

Team news

Sharks: The Sharks are 1-17 with no late changes.

Back-to-back wins, a week off to freshen up and five players returning from injury or suspension combine for the perfect preparation as Cronulla gear up for competition leaders Penrith.

The only change to the side which downed the Titans in round 12 is Andrew Fifita joining the bench at the expense of Franklin Pele.

Chad Townsend and Mawene Hiroti were the first two players omitted 24 hours before kick-off. Teig Wilton has completed his suspension and is 18th man while prop Braden Hamlin-Uele (ankle) is at least another week away from returning.

Panthers: Origin reps Nathan Cleary, Jarome Luai, Isaah Yeo, Brian To'o and Kurt Capewell are all being rested but Liam Martin will back up, taking his place on the bench in jersey 20.

J'maine Hopgood has been promoted to the starting side an hour before kick-off with Matt Eisenhuth going to the bench. Brent Naden is 18th man.

Blues 18th man Api Koroisau is in the starting side, replacing Mitch Kenny who goes to the bench.

Nathan Cleary suffered a deep laceration to his cheek which required a number of stitches at half-time in Origin I but he suffered no structural damage and To'o required stitches to a cut above his eye and has a corked knee. 

Prop Moses Leota's return from suspension sees Spencer Leniu drop out of the side along with Jaeman Salmon and Lindsay Smith. 

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Sharks is number 1 William Kennedy
    Fullback for Panthers is number 1 Dylan Edwards
  • Winger for Sharks is number 2 Connor Tracey
    Winger for Panthers is number 2 Charlie Staines
  • Centre for Sharks is number 3 Will Chambers
    Centre for Panthers is number 3 Stephen Crichton
  • Centre for Sharks is number 4 Jesse Ramien
    Centre for Panthers is number 4 Paul Momirovski
  • Winger for Sharks is number 5 Ronaldo Mulitalo
    Winger for Panthers is number 5 Robert Jennings
  • Five-Eighth for Sharks is number 6 Matt Moylan
    Five-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 Matt Burton
  • Halfback for Sharks is number 7 Shaun Johnson
    Halfback for Panthers is number 7 Tyrone May

Forwards

  • Prop for Sharks is number 8 Aiden Tolman
    Prop for Panthers is number 8 Moses Leota
  • Hooker for Sharks is number 9 Blayke Brailey
    Hooker for Panthers is number 9 Apisai Koroisau
  • Prop for Sharks is number 10 Aaron Woods
    Prop for Panthers is number 10 James Fisher-Harris
  • 2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Briton Nikora
    2nd Row for Panthers is number 11 Viliame Kikau
  • 2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Wade Graham
    2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Scott Sorensen
  • Lock for Sharks is number 13 Toby Rudolf
    Lock for Panthers is number 15 J'maine Hopgood

Interchange

  • Interchange for Sharks is number 14 Braydon Trindall
    Interchange for Panthers is number 13 Matthew Eisenhuth
  • Interchange for Sharks is number 15 Siosifa Talakai
    Interchange for Panthers is number 14 Mitch Kenny
  • Interchange for Sharks is number 16 Jack Williams
    Interchange for Panthers is number 17 Izack Tago
  • Interchange for Sharks is number 17 Andrew Fifita
    Interchange for Panthers is number 20 Liam Martin

Reserves

  • Reserve for Sharks is number 18 Teig Wilton
    Reserve for Panthers is number 26 Brent Naden

Match Officials

  • Referee: Ashley Klein
  • Touch Judge: Dave Munro
  • Touch Judge: Jon Stone
  • Senior Review Official: Henry Perenara

Last updated:

Key match-up

Matt Moylan v Matt Burton: The Sharks No.6 was sensational in a big win over the Titans in round 12, running for 167 metres, making two line breaks and six tackle breaks and dishing up a try assist as he and Shaun Johnson ran the Gold Coast ragged. Burton is no slouch in creating opportunities either with 10 tries from 11 games and he'll be ready to step up with Origin halves Cleary and Luai taking a well earned rest. The kicking games of both five-eighths will be crucial.

Stat attack

The bubble burst with the Panthers' first loss last weekend, as they missed the cohesion their Origin stars bring to the side. But they have not lost back-to-back games since August 2019 (round 22-23) so there's a good chance the Penrith team song will be back in the charts this week.

 

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