Monday, August 1, 7pm (AEST), CBus Stadium, Gold Coast
Cronulla’s pursuit of immortality continues on the Gold Coast on Monday as they search for an incredible 16 straight victories against a Titans team trying valiantly to hold onto a Top 8 spot.
Greg Bird returns to tackle his old side, replacing injured skipper Nathan Friend. Cronulla welcome back James Maloney in place of Fa’amunu Brown.
FormGold Coast are seventh on the NRL ladder with a 9-9 record and a +17 differential, seventh in the premiership. They have the seventh best attack and eighth ranked defence. Gold Coast have won their last two by 20 and have won six of their last nine. Cronulla have put together an astonishing 15 straight wins and sit atop the ladder with a 16-2 record. They have the best attack and third ranked defence. The Sharks have scored 26-plus in their last four.
Key Matchup Ashley Taylor v Chad Townsend. Two of the most of the underrated No.7s in the game, young halves Taylor and Townsend have been exceptional this year. Taylor’s game management has been outstanding while Townsend plays direct and gives his outside backs plenty of early ball. This should be a pearler of a matchup.
Stats That Matter Gold Coast are an NRL best 13-5 ATS with an 11-7 over record while Cronulla are 12-6 ATS with a 10-8 under number. Cronulla have covered four straight while the Titans have made the nut in their last three. The Titans are 5-3 ATS v Top 8 teams this season while the Sharks are 6-3 ATS. Home dogs of 6.5 or more R20-26 are 45-30 ATS since 2011. The Titans have covered 7 of their last 8 as a home underdog of 6 or more while home underdogs of 6 or more off a win of 20-plus are 7-2 ATS since 2008 while those off a win of 10 or more are 20-9 ATS. Cronulla have covered 6 of their last 7 interstate. Interstate favourites off a win of 20-plus are 16-22 ATS since 2013.
In-Play StatGold Coast are 6-0 when leading at halftime. There is no better finisher in the premiership with the Sharks losing just 3-of-18 final 20 minutes.
Behind The Curtains
Final Thoughts All the numbers stack up big for the Gold Coast here and they are The Wolf’s best for Round 21. The Wolf is so confident that the Titans will cover that he believes they can win this outright. Home underdogs are great bets this time of year and home underdogs getting a start off a big win are near unstoppable. This Titans team is tough, honest and resilient and can cause a monumental upset here.