Who would be a weatherman?

After an enjoyable week off for the Representative round, the NRL kicks into gear again with the Warriors facing the Sharks on Saturday at 7:30pm NZ time.

And just in case you forgot what happened in the Anzac test, let’s take another look.

In what shapes as a difficult contest to predict, it’s worth keeping a close eye on the weather on Saturday, as it is no secret, and no surprise, that the Sharks perform well in the wet.

As the clip below demonstrates, when a Sharknado hits, you need some serious weaponry to survive. (Side note: Is there a more heroic movie scene than launching yourself into a shark and chainsawing your way out? I think not.)

A difficult encounter at Shark Park should come as no surprise to the Warriors. The last time they visited, a savage attack led to the demise of Matthew Elliott. In the fall-out, Coach Cappy was appointed as head coach, and this time around he’s come equipped with attacking weapons. ‘I’ll see your Sharknado and I’ll raise you a Hurrellcane.’

But in all seriousness, Coach Cappy had better hope he’s able to pull a rabbit out of his hat on Saturday or a different species of shark might start circling, asking questions about his role at the club.

Cronulla, like the men from Mt Smart, have been very inconsistent to start the season (I could also be talking about almost every club in the NRL), sitting one spot behind the Warriors on points differential, with a 3 win, 5 loss record. The Sharks have, however, looked much better since the injection of Jack Bird. This youngster, one of the stars of the Auckland Nines, will need to be contained if the Warriors want to get their season back on track. In Bird, Valentine Holmes, Ben Barba and Michael Gordon, the Cronulla backline is packed with fullbacks, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Barba especially has free reign to roam around the field as he sees fit.

The Cronulla forward pack looks weaker with the absence of Paul Gallen, but in Andrew Fifita, Luke Lewis and serial grub Michael Ennis, there’s plenty of power, experience and courage to cause problems for this Warriors outfit. Look for them to attack on the fringes, especially towards Hurrell and Kata, as both young Warriors centres have shown real weaknesses on defence in 2015.

The Hurrell selection is a little surprising, given his return to NSW Cup involved a lot of standing on the wing and some more questionable defending, but there is no doubting his strength on attack. Personally, I’d love it if Coach Cappy is using some smoke and mirror tactics and keeps Hurrell on the bench, bringing Dominique Peyroux in to start at centre to sure up the defence. Peyroux was everywhere in the last NSW Cup game and never disappoints when given a go at the top level. Hurrell, on the other hand, could have a huge impact off the bench with his high-energy game. It seems unlikely, as McFadden tends to stick with the side he’s named, but Ivan Cleary was a big fan of late line-up changes, and in this case I think a little illusion would work a treat.

What to watch for:

A bit more forward rotation from the Warriors. With Simon Mannering playing up the middle this year, his workload has increased, and we’ve seen him get a little more rest than usual. Much has been made of the fact that the Warriors have three 80-minute back-rowers, but there’s actually no need for them all to play 80-minutes at this point in the season, especially if they run out of gas right at the business end of matches. At times during the Anzac test, Thomas Leuluai shared the field with Isaac Luke, and I wonder if Coach McFadden might employ similar tactics with Leuluai and Nathan Friend, even for short periods, to give the likes of Bodene Thompson a breather.

NRL Warrior prediction:

How could anyone predict this game? Both sides have had their ups and downs so far this season, and on recent form you’d probably have to tip the Sharks, especially given they are at home. In saying that, and maybe I’m just a sucker for punishment, but this feels like the kind of game the rollercoaster Warriors tend to win. Coming off back-to-back losses, away from home, the Warriors go into this match in the more familiar role of underdog. As difficult as recent losses have been to cope with, you always get the sense that they’re just a half-step or a lucky bounce away from it all clicking together. With the forwards rolling and Shaun Johnson and Big Manu riding the wave of their performances in the Anzac test, let’s tip the Warriors by 7 and hold our breath, cross our fingers and don those lucky underwear — because it’s a long way back from 3 and 6.

Highlights from previous meeting:

Teams

WARRIORS

1 Tuimoala Lolohea

2 Jonathan Wright

3 Konrad Hurrell

4 Solomone Kata

5 Manu Vatuvei

6 Chad Townsend

7 Shaun Johnson

8 Jacob Lillyman

9 Thomas Leuluai

10 Ben Matulino

11 Bodene Thompson

12 Ryan Hoffman

13 Simon Mannering (c)

Interchange

14 Nathan Friend

15 Dominique Peyroux

16 Sam Lisone

17 Sam Rapira

18 Albert Vete

SHARKS

1 Ben Barba

2 Valentine Holmes

3 Gerard Beale

4 Ricky Leutele

5 Michael Gordon

6 Jack Bird

7 Jeff Robson

8 Andrew Fifita

9 Michael Ennis (c)

10 Matt Prior

11 Jayson Bukuya

12 Wade Graham (c)

13 Luke Lewis

Interchange

14 Tinirau Arona

15 Anthony Tupou

16 Sami Sauiluma

17 Sam Tagataese

19 Pat Politoni

Advertisements

One thought on “Who would be a weatherman?”

Tell us what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s