Cronulla Sharks v North Queensland Cowboys
Saturday, August 18, 7:35pm
Southern Cross Group Stadium, Cronulla

The Sharks’ 17-14 win against the Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park in round 22 is the third time in a row they have beaten the reigning Premiers at home in as many seasons. They will be eyeing off a top-four berth when they meet the bottom-placed Cowboys on Saturday night. In round one this season, it was the Cowboys who got the better of the Sharks in a sloppy game, where both sides completed less than 70 per cent of their sets.

Recent form

Cronulla should have beaten Manly in round 21 at home, but atoned for that loss with an underdog win against the Melbourne Storm. North Queensland always raise their game when they face the Broncos and it was no different last weekend. A Coen Hess try with just three minutes remaining gave the Cows their second straight win at home. They will be desperate to avoid the wooden spoon this season after making last year’s Grand Final and are currently on the bottom of the ladder. The Cowboys pulled off a miraculous win in the first week of the 2017 finals, with Michael Morgan slotting a field goal in extra time to sink the Sharks.

Stats That Matter

  • The Cowboys make the most errors of any team in the National Rugby League, averaging 12 per game.
  • Cronulla has won the last three times it’s played the Cowboys at Southern Cross Group Stadium by an average of 6 points.
  • Since 2013, the under is 9-6 when these two sides meet.
  • The Sharks have covered only 13 of 33 matches at home since 2016.
  • Johnathan Thurston’s 19 line break assists are the most in the competition, despite the Cowboys being among the bottom four teams in tries scored and run metres.

Final thoughts

Wade Graham is out for the Sharks, but The Wolf found that the Sharks are unbeaten without the former New South Wales representative player this season, going a perfect 6-0 in his absence. The Cowboys have won only twice on the road in 2018, but have covered in six of their past eight matches in the Shire, dating back to 2008. Cronulla will be made to earn a tough victory in front of their home fans against a plucky Cowboys side.

How It Shapes Up

Cronulla by 6.

Recommended Bets

Best: Cronulla 1-12 ($2.90)
Value: Andrew Fifita to score a try ($5)
First Tryscorer: Josh Dugan ($11)

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