By Stephen Gallagher
MATCH OF THE ROUND: ROUND 18 – Brisbane Broncos V Cronulla Sharks – Friday, Suncorp Stadium. 19.45 local time, 21.45 NZ time.
LAST WEEK: Brisbane were thrashed 32-0 at the hands of the Melbourne Storm.
Cronulla Sharks came out big winners over the Wests Tigers 36-22.
THIS WEEK: There’s no denying the fact that Brisbane are horribly out of form, but once again with out their Origin heroes, they need to step up on home soil and deliver the goods. Young guys fighting to stay apart of this team need to prove their worth. When you think of it like that, they have no choice but to come out firing.
Cronulla sit in fifth position, and have been up and down this season. Winning their last match will give them the confidence to take Brisbane on in their home town. Without their Origin big guns will be okay for Cronulla, as they’ve fared pretty well over this period.
WHAT TO EXPECT: When a side is sliding down you have to stop and go back up. Brisbane need to come out all guns blazing. Nothing short of this. They have the young guys to do it. I think the problem starts in the halves, as Wallace and Prince are the keys to get some good plays going. If Prince is on, we could see some repeat sets leading to pressure. This is what they need to do. Force the Sharks to make errors.
Coach Flannagan is better than what most people give him credit for. I think his troops will know just what task is at hand, despite how poor the Broncos have been of late. There’s plenty of players in this Sharks outfit who have stood up when needed – and if these players do it again on Friday they will be rewarded with a big win.
THE BATTLE OF: Star Sevens. Where has Peter Wallace been this season? Comfortably living off the fact Darren Lockyer is gone so he will retain his position week in week out? Well there needs to be a threat to his job so he can start firing. Weak all season, he needs to show on Friday just what he’s capable of.
Jeff Robson is the star of this Sharks team, and goes happily under the radar about it. His kicking game is up there with the best in the league, and when he takes on the line you better watch out.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON: David Hala. Absolute beast. He runs with no fear.
Isaac De Gois. Off the interchange bench, he really comes and delivers some awesome sniping dummy half runs.
Cronulla are always tough, and Brisbane need to take back their fortress. Brisbane are young and can bring a big game if need be, but will they? Cronulla 26-18 winners.
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