Sharks, Roosters to battle for momentum - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sharks, Roosters to battle for momentum

By Steve Jancetic 19/08/2008 07:48:23 PM Comments (0)

Veteran Cronulla halfback Brett Kimmorley fears the loser of Friday night's Cronulla-Sydney Roosters top four clash may be just making up the numbers in the NRL finals.

The Toyota Stadium clash is shaping up as a battle of the contenders versus the pretenders, with Kimmorley claiming there'll be far more than just the two competition points on offer.

"The main thing I'm hoping for, three weeks away from the semis, is that we don't continually limp our way through the next three weeks and struggle when we get there," Kimmorley said.

"To be so good for 20 weeks, it would be a shame now to undo all that, as it would for the Roosters.

"We're both struggling a bit. I think we spoke about five weeks ago about `geez, we're in a good position, could be top four' and since then we've struggled a bit.

"They were brilliant for the first 12, 14 weeks and maybe both of us have hit the wall.

"Three weeks out, it's time to get some red cordial and have some coffee and do whatever you can to get a bit excited."

The Roosters have lost four of their last six and a loss on Friday night could drop them out of the top four should Brisbane beat Gold Coast.

A win and they could leapfrog the Sharks into third.

Cronulla can sew up a home final and maintain their challenge for a top two spot with a win, after they dropped the ball with last week's loss to New Zealand Warriors.

The Sharks have so far avoided their perennial late season fade out, but their inability to perform in the biggest games has some at the club worried.

Their round 18 clash with then ladder leaders Manly was one of the most hyped games of the season, but the Sea Eagles blew them away 34-6.

Two weeks later they ventured up to face a full-strength Brisbane side, and again left with their tails between their legs 18-12.

The third `big clash' comes on Friday night and skipper Paul Gallen knows the Sharks can't afford to suffer stage fright again.

"We have to stand up and win games, big games on the big stage and unfortunately we've let ourselves down in games like Manly and Brisbane," Gallen said.

"Games like this Friday night we have to win.

"We just have to learn to handle it if we're going to go good in the semi-finals.

"Unfortunately there's only a few of us who have played semi-final football.

"The build-up to the Manly game had a semi-final feel about it and maybe shellshocked a few of the boys, so hopefully we're a little bit more used to it now and we can handle it a bit better this week."

The Sharks named an unchanged line-up while the Roosters welcome back representative trio Craig Fitzgibbon, Nate Myles and Setaimata Sa, who all sat out last week's 30-6 loss to Melbourne.

The match will be Myles' first the final State of Origin match after which he was suspended for six weeks for a dangerous throw.

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