Cronulla Sharks vs Penrith Panthers NRL Finals Tips, Predictions and Match Preview - Solid Sharks set to overcome erratic Panthers

Andrew Hendrie 11 Sep 2018
  • Cronulla Sharks meet Penrith Panthers in week two of the NRL finals on Friday night
  • Sharks have won the last three meetings between the sides
Sharks face Panthers on Friday night

Cronulla Sharks target their fourth consecutive victory over the Penrith Panthers when they two teams square off for a spot in the preliminary finals on Friday night at Allianz Stadium.

Sharks vs Panthers kicks off at 7.40pm AEST at Allianz Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on Channel 9 in Australia.

Prediction

Match Preview


Defending premiers Melbourne Storm await the winner of the Sharks and Panthers on Friday night as both sides attempt to keep their premiership dream alive.

Penrith are the team that head into this encounter with winning momentum after emerging triumphant against the Warriors last week by a 27-12 scoreline, with James Maloney playing a starring role.

In an ironic turn of events, Maloney will now face his former side Cronulla and Matt Moylan will do likewise as he lines up against his former Panthers teammates - who will claim bragging rights?

Maloney has certainly had a larger influence this season at his new club - the veteran five-eighth has done wonders for Nathan Cleary’s development and his experience has been vital in helping the young Panthers squad transform into premiership contenders.

However, just a month ago the Panthers were in turmoil after sacking coach Anthony Griffin while nestled nicely in the top four, with the club going on to lose three of their next four matches. Nevertheless, they are back in the winners circle now and it’s a new competition in September - just how far can they go?

Cronulla meanwhile are trying to secure their second premiership in the last three years after famously ending their drought against the Storm in 2016. Like Penrith, the Sharks have also been caught up in some controversy towards the end of the season in regards to reported salary cap breaches, but there’s no suggestion that the breaches were too significant.

The Sharks were one of the form teams as they came into the finals on a four-match winning streak, but they were brought back down to earth against minor premiers the Roosters last week and now all of a sudden find themselves one defeat away from elimination.

Masters of the grind and wrestle, the Sharks will try and turn this contest into a big scrap and hope the relatively inexperienced Panthers side succumb to the pressure. And I think they will. Cronulla’s hard-working style is perfect for finals football and they rarely get blown off the park in big games. Penrith will need to be disciplined and hang with the Sharks throughout 80 minutes and I’m not sure they can, especially considering their recent history of slow starts - back the Sharks home in a tight affair.

Match Odds


Cronulla Sharks - $1.68
Penrith Panthers - $2.20

Stats


  • Sharks have won the last three meetings between the pair
  • Sharks won their last two matches by a 1-12 margin
  • Cronulla have scored at least 20 points in five of their last six encounters

Teams


Scott Sorensen replaces Wade Graham (ACL injury) for the Sharks in the forwards, with Kurt Capewell back from injury on the bench.

Penrith are unchanged from their win over the Warriors last week.

Sharks: 1 Val Holmes, 2 Sosaia Feki, 3 Josh Dugan, 4 Ricky Leutele, 5 Edrick Lee, 6 Matt Moylan, 7 Chad Townsend, 8 Andrew Fifita, 9 Jayden Brailey, 10 Matt Prior, 11 Luke Lewis, 12 Scott Sorensen, 13 Paul Gallen, 14 Kurt Capewell, 15 James Segeyaro, 16 Aaron Woods, 17 Jayson Bukuya, 18 Jesse Ramien, 19 Ava Seumanufagai, 20 Joseph Paulo, 21 Kyle Flanagan

Panthers: 1 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 2 Josh Mansour, 3 Waqa Blake, 4 Tyrone Peachey, 5 Christian Crichton, 6 James Maloney, 7 Nathan Cleary, 8 Trent Merrin, 9 Sione Katoa, 10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 11 Viliame Kikau, 12 Isaah Yeo, 13 James Fisher-Harris, 14 Tyrone May, 15 Moses Leota, 16 Corey Harawira-Naera, 17 James Tamou, 18 Wayde Egan, 19 Jack Hetherington, 20 Kaide Ellis, 21 Tyrone Phillips

Tips


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Cronulla Sharks vs Penrith Panthers NRL Finals Tips, Predictions and Match Preview - Solid Sharks set to overcome erratic Panthers

Cronulla Sharks target their fourth consecutive victory over the Penrith Panthers when they two teams square off for a spot in the preliminary finals on Friday night at Allianz Stadium.

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