Match Preview: Raiders v Sharks

The Raiders will be looking to win their fifth consecutive match in Cronulla as they face the Sharks on Friday night.

Round 18 saw the Raiders run riot over the Cowboys with 24 unanswered points in the second half to romp to a 38-12 win on Saturday night.

The Sharks enter round 19 off the back of a 24-12 win over the Panthers in Penrith and will be out to grab their third straight win.

Canberra will be without captain Jarrod Croker for the remainder of the season after he suffered a dislocated knee in the win over the Cowboys.

Michael Oldfield shifts to centre with Nick Cotric moving from fullback to wing and Brad Abbey resuming in the fullback position after a week on the sidelines.

Halfback Aidan Sezer has also been ruled out with a hamstring injury and will be replaced by Blake Austin in the halves.

Austin's replacement on the bench will be named following the Raiders final training session on Thursday.

The Sharks have the one change following their win with Jesse Ramien returning at centre in place of Kurt Capewell.

Last time: The Raiders were beaten by the Sharks 24-16 in round 10 at GIO Stadium.

The game was in the balance with 15 minutes to play but a length of the field try to Valentine Holmes in the final minute secured the points for Cronulla.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Sharks is number 1 Valentine Holmes
    Fullback for Raiders is number 1 Brad Abbey
  • Winger for Sharks is number 2 Sione Katoa
    Winger for Raiders is number 2 Nick Cotric
  • Centre for Sharks is number 3 Jesse Ramien
    Centre for Raiders is number 3 Michael Oldfield
  • Centre for Sharks is number 4 Ricky Leutele
    Centre for Raiders is number 4 Joseph Leilua
  • Winger for Sharks is number 5 Edrick Lee
    Winger for Raiders is number 5 Jordan Rapana
  • Five-Eighth for Sharks is number 6 Matt Moylan
    Five-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Sam Williams
  • Halfback for Sharks is number 7 Chad Townsend
    Halfback for Raiders is number 14 Blake Austin

Forwards

  • Prop for Sharks is number 8 Andrew Fifita
    Prop for Raiders is number 8 Dunamis Lui
  • Hooker for Sharks is number 9 Jayden Brailey
    Hooker for Raiders is number 9 Josh Hodgson
  • Prop for Sharks is number 10 Matt Prior
    Prop for Raiders is number 10 Junior Paulo
  • 2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Scott Sorensen
    2nd Row for Raiders is number 11 Iosia Soliola
  • 2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Wade Graham
    2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Elliott Whitehead
  • Lock for Sharks is number 13 Paul Gallen
    Lock for Raiders is number 13 Josh Papalii

Interchange

  • Interchange for Sharks is number 14 Joseph Paulo
    Interchange for Raiders is number 15 Luke Bateman
  • Interchange for Sharks is number 15 James Segeyaro
    Interchange for Raiders is number 16 Siliva Havili
  • Interchange for Sharks is number 16 Aaron Woods
    Interchange for Raiders is number 17 Liam Knight
  • Interchange for Sharks is number 17 Jayson Bukuya
    Interchange for Raiders is number 19 Jack Murchie

Key Matchups

Junior Paulo v Andrew Fifita

Two of the biggest front rowers in the game will collide and for all of those who aren't making the trip up, you will be able feel the impact from your home.

Junior Paulo has been outstanding since returning from a mid-foot sprain which ruled him out for five matches and looks like he hasn't missed a beat in his time away.

Andrew Fifita has been big for the Sharks and was so when he captained the side to a win over the Raiders in round 10 but has been a lot quieter since Paul Gallen's return to the side in the following round.

Expect the big men to come together more than once and this is a battle that could potentially define the match and give their team the upper hand.

Josh Papalii v Paul Gallen

Facing two of the games best lock forwards in the space of two weeks is a nightmare for most but Canberra's Josh Papalii outdid Jason Taumalolo in running metres last weekend after playing State of Origin just days before.

Papalii was enormous in running 182 metres from his 19 carries and earned the praise of coach Ricky Stuart post-match backing up from helping Queensland to a win in the final Origin match.

Paul Gallen had a much quieter affair against Penrith with the captain only producing 39 run metres in his time on the field.

Expect Gallen to be fired up for a big one back home in Cronulla but Papalii will be looking to heap more misery onto a Paul Gallen led side.

Jordan Rapana v Edrick Lee

They used to partner each other on the wing for the Raiders and will now go head to head in what shapes as an enticing matchup.

Rapana has had his season disrupted by injury but returned with a bang against North Queensland grabbing a double and looking like he hadn't missed a minute of action.

Lee played 67 games for the Raiders over five seasons and scored 33 tries in the process but will don the Sharks jersey for the 19th occasion this weekend and his third time against his old club.

Both of Lee's two games against the Raiders have resulted in wins but Rapana and the Raiders will be out to ensure he doesn't make it three from three on Friday night.

"It's obviously disappointing to lose him, he's a big part of our team and our captain but I think in a way the boys will lift for him." – Jordan Rapana

Head to head: These sides have done battle on 73 occasions with the Sharks holding the advantage with 40 wins compared to the Raiders with 33.