Sharks hope Cowboys diamonds don't shine - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sharks hope Cowboys diamonds don't shine

By Steve Jancetic 18/04/2009 02:49:43 PM Comments (0)

Cronulla coach Ricky Stuart is just waiting for Johnathan Thurston and Matt Bowen to explode.

But he's hoping like crazy his Sharks don't feel the full brunt of the enemy fire when they host North Queensland in the unfamiliar surrounds of Adelaide's Hindmarsh Stadium on Sunday.

"With Johnathan Thurston and Matt Bowen there they can be rocks or diamonds," Stuart said of the Cowboys.

"If you get them when they're diamonds you've got a tough game, JT worries me because I think he's about to burst."

Stuart should know too, for he was the man in charge of the national team as Thurston entrenched himself in the Kangaroos No.7 jumper.

Thurston's form this season has mirrored that of the Cowboys, with too much inconsistency costing both at crucial stages, the midfield general seemingly struggling to adapt to new coach Neil Henry's restrictive game plan.

But on the brink of the representative season, Stuart knows it's only a matter of time before Thurston comes good.

Given the luck the Sharks have had this year, there's every chance Sunday could be the day Thurston gets his season going.

Injuries and suspension have crippled Cronulla over the opening five rounds of the season, the Sharks going into the Cowboys clash minus suspended skipper Paul Gallen on top of long term injury concerns Ben Ross and Brett Kearney.

Stand-in skipper Trent Barrett should be better for last week's run following his early season neck injury, the Sharks needing the veteran five-eighth at his best if they are to post enough points to trouble the Cowboys.

But despite their position on the bottom of the ladder and the fact they boast the worst attack in the competition, the Cowboys know Sunday's match will be no walkover.

"They'll be desperate for a win as well," Cowboys forward Matt Scott said.

"There's pressure on both sides to perform, Ricky Stuart will have them fired up.

"They're very good defensively, they have a big forward pack that gets a lot of metres for them.

"They're going to be hard to stop but I think we've trained well this week, very intense sessions."

Grant Millington and new signing Bronx Goodwin both travelled to Adelaide with the Sharks but neither is expected to play against the Cowboys who will be without former Test prop Carl Webb and winger John Williams after both were dropped for turning up late to a recovery session this week.

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