GAME OF THE ROUND: ROUND TEN – Cronulla Sharks V Melbourne Storm – Sunday, Toyota Stadium 15.00 local time.
LAST WEEK: Cronulla fall short against South Sydney Rabbitohs in a game which had everything. Succumbing 34-28 in a thriller.
THIS WEEK: The Sharks back to reality after a loss, will come out even sharper. Silly errors which they had put away for the majority of the season came out last weekend which saw their demise. An injury cloud over Paul Gallen will have the media’s attention. The Sharks are looking very good though, and with arguably the biggest forward pack in the competition they can bank on that stellar platform to perform.
The Storm will just continue to be the Storm. They won’t get sucked in to any mind games this week. They will not underestimate their opponents. They will prepare as if this was a grand final, just like every other week. The Storm have been a cut above everyone else this season and it’s hard to find any faults with this unbeatable juggernaut.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Cronulla will be up for the challenge at home. This is such a huge advantage in this one. Toyota Park will be sold out I can guarantee that. The fans will be riding them home, so it’s down to the finer points of the game. Nothing short of perfection will be acceptable by Stuart Flannagan’s men. The competition rate must be next to perfect, the kick chase, the hit ups. Everything needs to go Cronulla’s way and they definitely have the personnel to pull it off.
Melbourne will be as sharp as a tack. The big three will be up for the challenge, they dictate all of the success this outfit has. Craig Bellamy is a world class coach with a recipe for success. Melbourne will go about their game plan which has seen them go perfect in nine rounds. Force the opposition back with each kick, force an error with the powerful defence and pounce. Rinse and repeat. This is what Melbourne do so well but easier said than done.
THE BATTLE OF: The niggly number nine’s. Isaac De Gois and Cameron Smith will go head to head as well as toe to toe. De Gois is so good at getting under his opposite’s skin. A fine example of that was Monday’s match up against Isaac Luke. De Gois is a good player so it’s not all lip for him. Cameron Smith is the best hooker in the world arguably, and knows everything that needs to happen well before it does. His vision is second to none and defensively is brilliant.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON: Jeff Robson – Don’t let Todd Carney take all the wraps for Cronulla’s success this season. Robson has been solid thrown in the deep end after Cronulla were winless after two games. He knows how to get things done. I don’t know if there’s a halfback who tackles more than him either.
Justin O’Neill – Not only a try scoring machine of late, but his involvement levels are increasing with every game. He will beat most players for pace, and he is such a good strike weapon.
I am going to go out on a limb and say Cronulla will win this with flying colours. Maybe I have been sucked in by the feel good story so far, but so be it. Cronulla 30-10.
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