A preliminary final date with the Melbourne Storm is on the line when the Cowboys battle the Sharks on Saturday night.
The Cowboys head into the clash off the back of a 16-12 defeat at the hands of the Broncos, while the Sharks head into it coming off a confidence building 28-12 win over the defending premiers, South Sydney.
Cronulla will take an unchanged line-up into the match after hooker Michael Ennis escaped suspension. Ennis has been instrumental in the Sharks revival from wooden spooners to contenders, leading the sharks in try assists with 18.
North Queensland have added Rory Kostjasyn to the bench in the only change to last weekend’s side. Five-eighth Michael Morgan will play his second match back from injury and will look to provide more attacking options for the Cowboys and take pressure off Jonathan Thurston.
The Sharks will be confident going into the match after defeating the Cowboys in both meetings this season. In round 16 Cronulla erased an 18-0 deficit to win 24-18 at 1300SMILES Stadium and followed that win up with a 30-18 victory at Remondis Stadium in round 22.
Key Match Up:
Paul Gallen vs Jason Taumalolo
Sharks captain Paul Gallen was instrumental in the Sharks victory over Souths. Gallen ran for over 200 metres from his 22 carries and made 17 tackles. Jason Taumololo at his best is one of the most damaging ball runners in the game and will be looking to get the Cowboys on the front foot to allow the playmakers Johnathan Thurston and Michael Morgan to unlock the Sharks defence.–Luke Cullen
Top image from Cronulla Sharks official Facebook page.