If the Warriors and Sharks miss the finals they will only have themselves to blame.

Despite running hot and cold all season the Warriors have somehow managed to stay in the hunt for a top eight finish.

But their window of opportunity is closing fast.

The Sharks battled admirably in the face of adversity through the first half of the season but the wheels have fallen off over the past month or so and they're under pressure to stay in the eight.

Match: Warriors v Sharks

Round 18 -

Full Time
Warriors

Home Team

Warriors

Scored 19 points
Sharks

Away Team

Sharks

Scored 18 points

Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Match broadcasters:

  • Foxtel
  • LIVE PASS
  • KAYO

The Rundown

Team news

Warriors: Both regular wingers are out. Adam Pompey came in for David Fusitu'a (hamstring) when final teams were announced after Ken Maumalo (concussion) was replaced by Blayke Ashford earlier. Ligi Sao was the other player to drop out of the final 17 after Chris Satae was cut on Thursday.

Sharks: Billy Magoulias and William Kennedy are the final cuts for Cronulla. Aaron Gray (knee) is out with Ronaldo Mulitalo into the side on the wing while Kyle Flanagan also dropped out of the 19-man squad 24 hours before kick-off. Shaun Johnson (ankle) is fit to play but Josh Morris (broken nose) and Josh Dugan (hamstring) are sidelined. Matt Moylan returns from a hamstring injury at fullback and Kurt Capewell will play centre. Paul Gallen returns from injury at lock and Scott Sorensen is in the second row. Matt Prior goes back to the bench and Jayson Bukuya goes out. 

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
    Fullback for Sharks is number 1 Matt Moylan
  • Winger for Warriors is number 18 Adam Pompey
    Winger for Sharks is number 2 Sosaia Feki
  • Centre for Warriors is number 3 Peta Hiku
    Centre for Sharks is number 3 Bronson Xerri
  • Centre for Warriors is number 4 Gerard Beale
    Centre for Sharks is number 4 Kurt Capewell
  • Winger for Warriors is number 21 Blake Ayshford
    Winger for Sharks is number 21 Ronaldo Mulitalo
  • Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Kodi Nikorima
    Five-Eighth for Sharks is number 6 Shaun Johnson
  • Halfback for Warriors is number 7 Blake Green
    Halfback for Sharks is number 7 Chad Townsend

Forwards

  • Prop for Warriors is number 8 Agnatius Paasi
    Prop for Sharks is number 8 Andrew Fifita
  • Hooker for Warriors is number 9 Issac Luke
    Hooker for Sharks is number 9 Jayden Brailey
  • Prop for Warriors is number 10 Leeson Ah Mau
    Prop for Sharks is number 10 Aaron Woods
  • 2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Adam Blair
    2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Briton Nikora
  • 2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Isaiah Papali'i
    2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Scott Sorensen
  • Lock for Warriors is number 13 Jazz Tevaga
    Lock for Sharks is number 13 Paul Gallen

Interchange

  • Interchange for Warriors is number 14 Lachlan Burr
    Interchange for Sharks is number 14 Blayke Brailey
  • Interchange for Warriors is number 15 Sam Lisone
    Interchange for Sharks is number 15 Jack Williams
  • Interchange for Warriors is number 16 Bunty Afoa
    Interchange for Sharks is number 16 Braden Hamlin-Uele
  • Interchange for Warriors is number 17 Chanel Harris-Tavita
    Interchange for Sharks is number 17 Matt Prior

Key match-up

The battle between front-row enforcers Agnatius Paasi and Andrew Fifita should bring lightning and thunder, while Chad Townsend has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders in his clash with Blake Green.

For the Warriors to win

Stephen Kearney would love to see his side put two good halves together. It's rarely happened this season and time is running out for the Warriors to prove they can not only make a late charge for the finals, but also make some noise if they get there. They need to play their own game on Friday and keep the Sharks out of their comfort zone.

For the Sharks to win

Injuries sure haven't been kind but the Sharks have to get back to playing their own brand of football and get some consistency out of their spine. With key players missing (as usual), Fifita and Matt Prior need to lead the way up front and every player has to lift his defensive effort.

Brett Kimmorley says

Not the usual home venue for the Warriors, but a great showpiece for the game in Wellington. I am looking forward to seeing Kodi Nikorima take on Shaun Johnson. It is a great challenge for both players. Cronulla are in a massive hole and this will be a tough road trip. Warriors by 2

Stat Attack

Warriors winger Ken Maumalo continues to shine in 2019. Maumalo is first in the NRL in run meters (3088) and post-contact metres (1008), and second in runs (310), tries (12) and line breaks (12).

And another thing ...

The Warriors and Sharks squared off just once in 2018, with Cronulla prevailing 18-15 at Mt Smart Stadium. The Warriors pulled ahead 15-14 with Shaun Johnson's 73rd-minute field goal before the Sharks broke their hearts with Edrick Lee's 77th-minute try. Johnson is eager to face his former club but the Sharks halfback has battled injuries for most of the season and is no certainty to play.