The Sharks’ friendly run home gives them every chance to grab a top-four spot and their surge to September starts on Saturday against old rivals the Dragons.
Sitting third on 28 competition points, the Sharks play the sides coming 11th, 15th, 10th, 12th and 14th in the final five games so a home final at PointsBet Stadium beckons.
The Dragons hit a major hurdle on Sunday when they were totally outplayed by the Cowboys and their misfiring attack must be a huge concern to coach Anthony Griffin.
Given that Cronulla boast the third best defensive record in the NRL the Dragons will need to find a whole lot more with ball in hand if they are to topple the Sharks for the first time since round five, 2020.
Sharks: A blow for the Sharks with fullback Will Kennedy facing 5-6 weeks on the sideline after undergoing ankle surgery. His place of him is taken by Kade Dykes on debut. Royce Hunt is out with a shoulder injury so Braden Hamlin-Uele will start and Braydon Trindall joins the bench.
Dragons: Coach Anthony Griffin has stuck with the same 17 that went down to the Cowboys on Sunday. Fullback Cody Ramsey is expected back on deck in Round 22 from a knee injury.
Siosifa Talakai v Zac Lomax: The wrecking ball Talakai squaring off with the fleet footed Lomax provides an intriguing contrast in styles. With 86 tackle breaks to his name so far this season Talakai has proven almost unstoppable at times, while his tally of 13 line break assists shows he can create opportunities for team-mates as well. Lomax has busted 56 tackles and been at the heart of plenty of Red V raids and he’s a man the Sharks will need to watch closely.
Nicho Hynes, Siosifa Talakai and William Kennedy have 44 line break assists between them for the season to all sit inside the top 10 in that category. The Dragons’ best is Ben Hunt with 11, closely followed by Talatau Amone and Jack Bird with 10 each.