Super Saturday kicks off with a potential Grand Final preview.
There are a few signs to suggest that the Roosters will be in front for a long way here and there is some doubt as to whether or not the Sharks will be able to run them down.
Cronulla’s ‘Achilles Heel’ this season has been their starts and that was again the case last week against Manly. It was their seventh straight game in which they trailed at the break and they have been outscored 85-40 in the first 40 minutes of those games.
This ultimately leaves plenty of work for the defending premiers to get out of jail but it is something they’ve been able to do more often than not this season but last week wasn’t one of them.
Cronulla will head into this crucial game off the back of a 35-18 loss to Manly while the Roosters managed to beat Melbourne at the Adelaide Oval in Golden Point.
FIRST HALF WORRIES
CRONULLA cannot afford to keep giving away starts to their opposition.
This has happened far too often this year but there is a silver lining for punters here in that most sides who play against the defending champs are paying juicy odds to be leading at the break.
This week the boys at Ladbrokes have the Roosters @ $1.91 to be leading at the break which for us is tremendous value.
What’s more the tricolours are the best defensive team in the competition through 40 minutes, conceding a measly 7.3ppg.
NO TRAVEL BUG
CRONULLA built their premiership off the back of a brilliant home record, however, that has gone completely out the window this season.
All five of the Sharks’ losses in 2017 have come at Southern Cross Group Stadium where they are 4-5. The other side of the equation is that they are the only team that boasts a perfect record away from home.
Shane Flanagan’s men are a perfect 6-0 when traveling away from Shark Park and with this match being at the neutral venue of Central Coast Stadium, that should suit the premiers down to the ground.
Sharkies fans will love this stat – they are riding a club record five straight wins over the Roosters.
In their last two wins over the Roosters the margin has been by an average of 18.5 points, however, with both sides having some of the best defence in the competition we are anticipating a tight affair.
The trick to this could be the venue itself where the Roosters have dropped eight of the past nine games there.
It was hard not to be impressed with the Roosters last week after they came back from 12 points down with eight minutes remaining to beat Melbourne.
Yes, the Storm didn’t have the ‘Big Three’ but that was beside the point. The Roosters are without Boyd Cordner and had Mitchell Pearce and Blake Ferguson backing up from Origin duty.
They are beginning to look like a serious premiership threat and we can see them jumping out to a decent lead here against Cronulla not being run down.
Trent Robinson’s side has not lost a game after being in front at halftime (nine from nine).
There is definitely a worrying trend for Cronulla with their slow starts killing any momentum they are trying to generate early on in their games. While their defence is the best in the NRL (conceding 15.3ppg), it has had to be because of their errors and poor discipline have been letting them down.
Cronulla has the worst completion rate in the competition while making 12.9 errors per game, which is also a league worst. The fact they are still 10-5 at this stage of the season belies belief. They are the champs for a reason and are likely to be throwing punches again in the latter stages of 2017 but from what we have seen lately it looks as though the Roosters have their measure.
The Sharks are also battling an injury crisis in the hooker ranks which is severely testing the depth of their squad which means Jake Friend could end up having a field day for the opposition.
SYDNEY ROOSTERS HALF-FULL DOUBLE