Halfback Shaun Johnson is all set to play for the One New Zealand Warriors today after his wife Kayla gave birth to the couple's second daughter yesterday.
Sachi James Johnson arrived into the world at 5.26pm on July 15 leaving the talisman playmaker clear to line up against his former club Cronulla Sutherland at Go Media Stadium Mt Smart today (4.00pm kick-off).
Both big winners in round 19, the One New Zealand Warriors will be keen to win in front of their home crowd after their disappointment against South Sydney two weeks ago while Cronulla is hunting a fourth straight win.
The Warriors bounced back to winning ways with a 46-10 rout of the Eels for their 10th win of the year last Saturday, and while they sit sixth on the ladder they are yet to beat a top-four side this season, which makes the meeting with the second-ranked Sharks one of their most important games to date.
Following a 36-12 victory over the Wests Tigers last Thursday, the Sharks are now without a loss since June 11 but they'll face a different challenge this week after playing the competition's three lowest ranked teams in their past three games.
When they met earlier this year in rund 5 it ended up being one of the games of the season, with the Warriors overcoming a 6-26 deficit late in the first half to win 32-30 thanks to a last-minute penalty goal from Johnson.
Go back a year and both clashes between these sides belonged to Cronulla, with the Sharks boasting 10 wins from their last 13 meetings with the Warriors, including three straight wins at Go Media Stadium in Auckland.
Match: Warriors v Sharks
Round 20 -
Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Charnze Nicoll-KlokstadFullback for Sharks is number 1 William Kennedy
Winger for Warriors is number 2 Dallin Watene-ZelezniakWinger for Sharks is number 2 Sione Katoa
Centre for Warriors is number 3 Rocco BerryCentre for Sharks is number 3 Jesse Ramien
Centre for Warriors is number 4 Adam PompeyCentre for Sharks is number 4 Siosifa Talakai
Winger for Warriors is number 5 Marcelo MontoyaWinger for Sharks is number 5 Ronaldo Mulitalo
Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Luke MetcalfFive-Eighth for Sharks is number 6 Matt Moylan
Halfback for Warriors is number 7 Shaun JohnsonHalfback for Sharks is number 7 Nicholas Hynes
Prop for Warriors is number 8 Addin Fonua-BlakeProp for Sharks is number 8 Oregon Kaufusi
Hooker for Warriors is number 9 Wayde EganHooker for Sharks is number 9 Blayke Brailey
Prop for Warriors is number 16 Tom AleProp for Sharks is number 10 Toby Rudolf
2nd Row for Warriors is number 10 Mitchell Barnett2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Briton Nikora
2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Jackson Ford2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Teig Wilton
Lock for Warriors is number 13 Tohu HarrisLock for Sharks is number 13 Cameron McInnes
Interchange for Warriors is number 12 Josh CurranInterchange for Sharks is number 14 Wade Graham
Interchange for Warriors is number 14 Freddy LussickInterchange for Sharks is number 15 Thomas Hazelton
Interchange for Warriors is number 15 Bayley SironenInterchange for Sharks is number 16 Jack Williams
Interchange for Warriors is number 17 Dylan WalkerInterchange for Sharks is number 17 Jesse Colquhoun
Replacement for Warriors is number 23 Viliami VaileaReplacement for Sharks is number 18 Connor Tracey
- Referee: Gerard Sutton
- Touch Judge: Liam Kennedy
- Senior Review Official: Matt Noyen
One New Zealand Warriors: After uncertainty during the week waiting for his second child to be born, Johnson is now clear to play. Dylan Walker has been named to play despite suffering an arm injury suffered against the Eels. Josh Curran returns after serving a two-game suspension so Mitch Barnett shifts to the front row and Bunty Afoa is out due to concussion.
Sharks: Coach Craig Fitzgibbon has stuck with the same 17 that downed Wests Tigers in round 19. No changes in Saturday's 24-hour update with Braden Hamlin-Uele (ribs) dropping out of the extended squad. Lock Dale Finucane is serving the final week of his suspension so Cameron McInnes looks set to start at lock again. Connor Tracey is 18th man.
- Sharks fullback William Kennedy is neck-and-neck with Panthers custodian Dylan Edwards when it comes to being the best kick returner in the NRL. Kennedy heads into Round 18 averaging 73.8 metres per game on returns, just ahead of Edwards on 73.4.
- In their last four wins the Warriors have scored 40 points on average.
- The Warriors are aiming for two wins in a season against the Sharks for the first time since 2010.
- The Sharks have won six of their past eight games against the Warriors.
- The Warriors have scored 30 points or more in four of their past five games.
- Sharks winger Ronaldo Mulitalo has scored eight tries in his past seven games against the Warriors.
- Warriors winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has scored 13 tries in his past 10 games.
Stats supplied by David Middleton, League Information Services, author of the official annual of the NRL.