Both these teams are playing sudden-death games for the rest of the regular season, especially the Warriors after last week's heavy loss to the Roosters.
If they lose to the Sharks on Saturday they can pretty much forget about the finals.
Cronulla were all over the Dragons for most of the first half last week before almost being overrun in the second half.
They did just enough to claim a vital two points, but the Sharks are still having trouble putting 80 minutes together.
Sharks: The Sharks will line up 1-17 as named. Matt Moylan's hamstring injury means Josh Dugan goes to fullback and Ronaldo Mulitalo starts on the wing. Andrew Fifita is back from a knee injury on the interchange bench. Sharks five-eighth Shaun Johnson requires seven points for 1000 NRL points. Backs Sione Katoa and Kyle Flanagan were trimmed from the reserves at the 24-hour mark, while Blayke Brailey and Billy Margoulias were the last players cut before kick-off.
Warriors: Bunty Afoa is out, replaced on the bench by Blake Ayshford, while Lachlan Burr has been elevated to the starting lineup at the expense of Agnatius Paasi. David Fusitu'a and Patrick Herbert return from hamstring injuries while Isaac Luke is back as the starting hooker after suspension. Gerard Beale's season is over after suffering a fractured kneecap against the Roosters. Adam Pompey and Ligi Sao were omitted the day before the game. Adam Keighran was cut an hour prior to kick-off.
Shaun Johnson will be relishing the chance to redeem himself against his former side after the Warriors prevailed 19-18 when they met five weeks ago. Johnson still has a tendency to run hot and cold during games, but he'll have to be switched on from start to finish against his former halves partner Blake Green.
For the Sharks to win
There's still a couple of question marks over the forwards but the expected return of Andrew Fifita should help. The pack needs to subdue the Warriors up front, while Johnson and Chad Townsend have to take charge, especially if it's close down the stretch.
For the Warriors to win
Personal pride should be a motivating factor after last week's shellacking, but it'll take more than that. The Warriors need to constantly pressure Johnson and Townsend with a committed defensive effort, while Kodi Nikorima has to be at his best and take some of the pressure off Green.
Brett Kimmorley says
It was a pretty bad performance from Cronulla last week but the two points is what was needed. They’re in the eight and control is in their hands. They have this week and next week at PointsBet Stadium to probably seal a semi-final position. Three wins in a row is probably good enough. Shaun Johnson will be looking forward to a dry track on Saturday. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was unbelievable last week and I’m hoping he continues to shine for the Warriors. Sharks by 2
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is making a compelling case for back to back Dally M honours. Despite missing two games through injury, the Warriors fullback leads the NRL in runs (424) and run metres (4,127), is second in tackle breaks (106) and fifth in post contact metres (1,098).
And another thing ...
Blake Green was the hero when the Warriors came from behind to beat the Sharks 19-18 in Round 18. The Sharks were up 12-2 before the Warriors cut it to 12-8 at half-time. Cronulla then went ahead 18-16 until Chanel Harris-Tavita locked it up with a 68th-minute penalty goal. The fightback was complete when Green kicked a match-winning field goal in the dying minutes.