Wests Tigers vs Cronulla Sharks
Date: Saturday, 29th April 2017
Venue: Leichardt Oval, Balmain
Kickoff: 11:30 cet
Coach Cleary got his ledger to 2-1 last weekend when his team put a passion-filled performance on the paddock and recorded a win against neighbourly rivals the Bulldogs. This win leaves them at 3-5 in 13th and in need of a good solid run without many consecutive losses if they are to figure in the top-8 conversation after another 16 matches. There is no changes recorded for the Tigers team this week as everyone is seemingly ready for action against the reigning premiers.
Cronulla will be seething after their Round 8 loss to Gold Coast last weekend, which was most unexpected following the fine wins they had against Melbourne and Penrith in recent weeks. That loss leaves them still healthily poised at 5-3 in 4th on the ladder, and looking very strongly positioned to defend their title. Gerard Beale returns for the Sharks this weekend, leaving Capewell in a utility role on the bench, while Lewis returns in the 2nd Row and Tagataese misses out, with Bukuya dropping to the bench.
As is the case across many of the games this weekend, superb conditions for entertaining Rugby League and viewing are on hand out at the historic Leichardt Oval for this clash. In what could be an Origin rivalry in a few weeks, albeit unlikely to be in these Fullback roles, Tedesco and Holmes is a mouth-watering matchup that will be exciting to watch in this clash.
Wests Tigers vs Cronulla Sharks: Head to Head Stats
Wests have had very good success against Cronulla in their history, since merging, with a 17-9 record, and an imposing 5-2 record at this venue. Recent matches have seen the tide start to swing in favour of the Sharks though, as they have won 4 from 6 against the poorly managed Tigers outfit of the last few seasons, which has even leaked to Leichardt as they have lost the last 2 matches against the Sharks here.
Under Cleary, thus far, the Tigers have been much improved with wins against Canterbury and North Queensland, though adding Cronulla’s scalp would show they are a serious top-8 contender. Cronulla, held Melbourne and Penrith try-less in consecutive weeks before their hiccup against the Gold Coast and will be looking to maintain their top-4 status by avoiding back-to-back losses.
Wests Tigers vs Cronulla Sharks: Prediction
Bookmakers are not overly bullish on a return to the winners’ circle for the reigning premiers with just a 6-point margin in the handicapped market, and a surprisingly short price for the Tigers. That said, coach Flanagan will have his troops up for this clash and will know how important a win here is before fatigue settles in on his men, with a host of them set to be heavily involved in the Origin and Test match action.
The same old faces are the key to Cronulla’s winning chances, especially Gallen and Graham, while Maloney is in fine form and Holmes has a fine x-factor which is the basis for a very strong outfit. The off-field transactions at Wests are seemingly settled down, with most of the big name players having sorted out their futures, which could cause something of a stir from the local crowd, as local lads have chosen to play elsewhere next season. Expect, Cronulla to win, with Wests inconsistencies exploited, particularly in defence.
Wests Tigers vs Cronulla Sharks: Tips
- Cronulla to win by around 10.
- Valentine Holmes to score a try.