Round 22 NRL Preview: Vodafone Warriors v Sharks
Thursday 2 August 2012 11:30 AM
ROUND 22 GAME PREVIEW
VODAFONE WARRIORS v CRONULLA SHARKS
Round 22, 2012 NRL Premiership
Sunday, August 5, 2012
NRL Kick-Off 2:00pm (NZ Time), NYC Kick-Off 11:45am (NZ Time)
Mt Smart Stadium
Referees: Tony Archer/Alan Shortall
Coming In To Round 22
Vodafone Warriors are 1-3 in their last four games, and are coming off a 24-22 loss to the Manly Sea Eagles at Patersons Stadium last Saturday.
They have averaged 20.3 ppg since Round 18, and have conceded 18.0 ppg in that period.
They sit 12th on the competition ladder, 2 points from the 8th placed Titans.
Cronulla Sharks are 0-1-3 in their last four games, and are coming off a 21-20 loss to the Penrith Panthers at Toyota Stadium last Saturday.
They have averaged 12.0 ppg since Round 18, and have conceded 22.3 ppg in that period.
They sit 7th on the competition ladder, 1 point from the 4th placed Cowboys.
Last Time They Met
Round 15, 2012 - Watch game highlights of the Sharks’ 20-19 victory in Round 15.
Last 10 Games - Vodafone Warriors 6 Sharks 4.
The Vodafone Warriors have won three of the last four, and the Sharks haven’t won in New Zealand since 2007.
Team Changes and Late Mail
Find all the Vodafone Warriors’ Team and Injury News from Tuesday and full Round 22 Lineup here.
K Locke, B Tupou, B Henry, L Brown, M Vatuvei ©, J Maloney, S Johnson, R Packer, N Friend, B Matulino, F Mateo, E Taylor, S Ikahihifo.
Bench: C Tuimavave, S Lousi, J Lillyman, S Rapira, U Ta’ai.
M Wright, J Williams, R Leutelem C Best, N Stapleton, T Carney, J Robson, M Taufua, I De Gois, B Ross, J Smith, A Tupou, P Gallen ©.
Bench: A Fifita, T Frizell, J Morris, J Bukuya, J Green, S Tagataese.
The Vodafone Warriors return back to Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday looking to revive their finals hopes after a devastating loss to the Manly Sea Eagles in Perth last Saturday night.
The Sharks also suffered a heartbreaking loss last Saturday night, going down in golden point extra time to the Penrith Panthers at home. They will need a win to keep their finals run on track, and regain the momentum they had during the middle of the season.
Konrad Hurrell is missing this week with an ankle injury, but one of his premiership winning NYC teammates Carlos Tuimavave is set to make his NRL debut from the bench. After 50 games in the NYC over three seasons and becomes the third member of his family to represent the Vodafone Warriors following his uncle Tony and cousin Evarn. In the utility role for the Sharks is 257 game veteran John Morris. Tuimavave will be looking to come on and make an impact against at tiring defence, but the combination at hooker of Morris and Isaac De Gois will be one that the Vodafone Warriors will need to keep and eye out for.
In the back-row, Feleti Mateo matches up against Jeremy Smith. Mateo has been in hot form for the Vodafone Warriors in the past month, with four try assists and six line break assists in addition to 12 offloads. After returning from injury, Smith has led the Sharks very well showing plenty of ball skills in the back row to help the Sharks attack. Their battle will be key in deciding the momentum of both sides and who can take advantage of the possession and field position they gain.
The Vodafone Warriors second phase play has been the aspect of their play which has troubled teams this season, as it has done for some time. With Mateo and Ben Matulino in top form they have been able to get a roll on and play against retreating defences. This was evident in the first half against the Sea Eagles last week, but when Manly shut that down and went on the attack, they were able to score some points.
In such a vital game, the Vodafone Warriors will need to get that roll on and allow James Maloney and Shaun Johnson to do their work on the back of that. If they can prevent Smith, Anthony Tuopu and Paul Gallen from playing similar roles, then they should have a good chance of taking the points in this game.
How do you see the Vodafone Warriors v Sharks match playing out this Sunday? Will you be there? Let us know in the comments below.