South Sydney v Cronulla Friday, June 1, 7.50pm ANZ Stadium, Sydney
South Sydney and Cronulla are both in red-hot form and locked in the Top 4 making this a compelling battle between two legitimate title contenders. Souths have been hit harder by Origin but it is hard to write off a team playing such brilliant Rugby League while Cronulla possess the longest active winning streak in the competition.
Recent FormSouth Sydney have been in scintillating form as they’ve shot to third on the ladder with an 8-4 record. The Bunnies rank second in scoring and sixth in defence. The Rabbitohs have won four straight and have won three straight against Top 8 teams by 12 or more points. Souths have averaged 28.29ppg over their last seven. Cronulla have won six straight and have ascended to fourth on the ladder. The Sharks rate seventh defensively and ninth in scoring. None of Cronulla’s last five wins have come against a team higher than 10th on the ladder.
Key MatchupJohn Sutton v Wade Graham. Two edge backrowers with plenty of skill, Sutton and Graham will both be looking to have a big impact on this one for different reasons. Sutton is enjoying a rejuvenated season, running some quality lines and providing some excellent second phase ball. Graham is only fresh back from injury but will be scarred by his Blues snub and keen to prove Brad Fittler wrong. In tight, hard-fought games, skilful edge backrowers can decide a match.
Stats That Matter– South Sydney are 9-3 ATS with a 6-6 total record while Cronulla are 5-7 ATS with a 6-6 total number. – Cronulla have won three of the last four meetings against South Sydney. – Souths have been held to 18 points or fewer in eight straight against the Sharks, averaging 12.13ppg. – Souths hold a 6-1 all-time record v Cronulla at ANZ. The last eight matches have failed to top 40 points with six failing to break 28. – Souths have covered 13 of their last 17 overall and 10 of their last 13 at ANZ. – Souths are 11-15 ATS in night games at ANZ. The Rabbitohs have covered 8 of 12 at ANZ after scoring 30 or more points. – The Sharks have covered three straight on a quick backup with an 8-4 under record since 2015. – Cronulla are 17-8 ATS as an underdog away from Shark Park since 2015 with a 15-10 under record. – Off a win as a road underdog, the Sharks are 9-5 ATS with a 10-4 under record.
Final ThoughtsThe early money has come for Cronulla here and it is hard to disagree. Damien Cook is South Sydney’s most important player and he will prove hard to replicate in both output and style. Cronulla have lost just winger Val Holmes. The Sharks have proven strong bets as a road underdog and can be bet again. The top play though is the under. These two have a strong history of low-scoring affairs, Souths will be without some key attacking weapons and Cronulla are a major under team on the road.
How It Shapes UpCronulla by 4
Recommended Bets Best: Under 39.5 points ($1.90) Value: Cronulla 1-12 ($2.90) First Try: Jesse Ramien ($13.00)