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A Bulldogs side that has shown commendable persistence in recent weeks comes up against a Sharks side that has too often shown a soft underbelly as it loiters on the fringe of the top eight.

Too many Sharks failed to show up for last Saturday's clash with Canberra and the subsequent 34-18 defeat left Cronulla clinging to eighth spot on percentages ahead of the Raiders and Knights.

The side's record of seven wins and 10 losses, combined with a negative points differential, is a measure of the Sharks' underachievement and they can't keep on relying on the sides around them continuing to stumble if they have genuine finals aspirations.

The Bulldogs have bounced back well from their 66-0 hammering at the hands of Manly, pushing the Roosters before losing 22-16 and then giving South Sydney a real fright on the way to a 32-24 defeat.

The rundown

Team news

Bulldogs: Just one change to the 17, with Renouf Atoni moving from the reserves list to the interchange. Falakiko Manu will be the 18th man.

Dummy-half Jeremy Marshall-King returns from suspension and a reshuffle in the pack sees Ava Seumanufagai promoted from the interchange to start in the front row with Luke Thompson switching to lock and Josh Jackson to the second row.

Joe Stimson is the new face on the bench. Ofahiki Ogden and Kyle Flanagan were omitted from the extended bench 24 hours before kick-off.

The Bulldogs can achieve two wins in a season against the Sharks for the first time since 2004.

Sharks: Teig Wilton is out. Briton Nikora starts with Andrew Fifita joining the bench. Jonaiah Lualua was the other player omitted from the squad on Saturday.

Billy Magoulias will be the 18th man for Cronulla.

Royce Hunt is on track to play his first game of the season in a timely return from a knee injury with experienced prop Aiden Tolman accepting a one-match ban this week.

Toby Rudolf moves from lock to replace Tolman in the front row with Jack Williams promoted to the starting side.

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

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Nick Meaney
    Fullback for Sharks is number 1 William Kennedy
  • Winger for Bulldogs is number 2 Corey Allan
    Winger for Sharks is number 2 Sione Katoa
  • Centre for Bulldogs is number 3 Will Hopoate
    Centre for Sharks is number 3 Connor Tracey
  • Centre for Bulldogs is number 4 Aaron Schoupp
    Centre for Sharks is number 4 Jesse Ramien
  • Winger for Bulldogs is number 5 Jayden Okunbor
    Winger for Sharks is number 5 Ronaldo Mulitalo
  • Five-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Lachlan Lewis
    Five-Eighth for Sharks is number 6 Braydon Trindall
  • Halfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Jake Averillo
    Halfback for Sharks is number 7 Shaun Johnson

Forwards

  • Prop for Bulldogs is number 8 Ava Seumanufagai
    Prop for Sharks is number 8 Toby Rudolf
  • Hooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Jeremy Marshall-King
    Hooker for Sharks is number 9 Blayke Brailey
  • Prop for Bulldogs is number 10 Jack Hetherington
    Prop for Sharks is number 10 Aaron Woods
  • 2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Corey Waddell
    2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Siosifa Talakai
  • 2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 12 Josh Jackson
    2nd Row for Sharks is number 16 Briton Nikora
  • Lock for Bulldogs is number 13 Luke Thompson
    Lock for Sharks is number 13 Jack Williams

Interchange

  • Interchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Bailey Biondi-Odo
    Interchange for Sharks is number 14 Mawene Hiroti
  • Interchange for Bulldogs is number 15 Dylan Napa
    Interchange for Sharks is number 15 Royce Hunt
  • Interchange for Bulldogs is number 16 Joe Stimson
    Interchange for Sharks is number 17 Braden Hamlin-Uele
  • Interchange for Bulldogs is number 23 Renouf Atoni
    Interchange for Sharks is number 20 Andrew Fifita

Reserves

  • Reserve for Bulldogs is number 21 Falakiko Manu
    Reserve for Sharks is number 18 Billy Magoulias

Match Officials

  • Referee: Chris Sutton
  • Touch Judge: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
  • Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
  • Senior Review Official: Alan Shortall

Last updated:

Key match-up

Luke Thompson v Aaron Woods: The English middle forward has been one of Canterbury's best performers this season, turning up on a weekly basis to do the hard yards required in attack and defence. He has averaged 136 run metres and 35 tackles per game. Woods, who has been told to look elsewhere for next season, will have to step up with his bookend Aiden Tolman suspended. Woods has played all 17 of Cronulla's matches this season while averaging 120 run metres. The veteran prop has collected three tries along the way.  

Stat attack

The last-placed Bulldogs have just one player in the top 50 for missed tackles, Adam Elliott (No.17, 45 misses), even though they have conceded more points than all but North Queensland and Brisbane. Cronulla, in contrast, have the No.1 player for missed tackles, Toby Rudolf (68), and another three in the top 30 despite their eighth-placed ranking for points conceded. 

 

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