Sharks face injury dramas - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sharks face injury dramas

By Ben Horne 16/07/2010 05:22:26 PM Comments (0)

Cronulla's preparations have been thrown into disarray ahead of their NRL clash with Manly on Saturday night, with captain Trent Barrett and winger Blake Ferguson ruled out with injury.

Barrett has a shoulder problem, while Ferguson hasn't been able to recover from a rib complaint.

In further bad news for Ricky Stuart's men, halfback John Morris and NSW prop Kade Snowden are also considered only 50/50 chances of playing. Morris has a knee problem, while Snowden is suffering from an illness.

Tim Smith, who was dropped last week, will compete with Scott Porter and Albert Kelly for Barrett's five-eighth spot and Morris' halfback position should he also be ruled out. Issac Gordon will make an earlier than expected return from a hamstring injury to replace Ferguson.

Cronulla are virtually no chance of making the playoffs, but a win over Manly would see them to 16 competition points, and might at least give them something to play for in the final rounds.

However, the possibility of losing their two halves, top front-rower and key attacking winger will make their task even more difficult.

Meanwhile Manly co-captain Jamie Lyon says the Sea Eagles don't have a confidence problem leading into the clash at Toyota Stadium.

The 2008 premiers have slipped out of the top eight and are now part of a log-jam of sides competing for playoff positions.

Lyon concedes Manly are a long way from their best, but said the team still believes they're among the top sides in the competition.

"I think everyone's pretty confident that we can turn it around," he said.

"We know we're capable of doing that and we know we're a good team. We've just got to put the hard work in now.

"We know we're up there with the best teams, we're probably just not showing it at the moment.

"We're not playing our best footy, but ... we're confident we can turn it around and we've got the players to do it."

The Origin period wasn't a good one for the Sea Eagles, with Lyon being injured, and players like Matt Ballin, Josh Perry, Jason King and Anthony Watmough missing at stages throughout.

There has also been Trent Hodkinson's announcement that he's leaving the club at season's end, and Steve Matai's ongoing contract negotiations. However Lyon is adamant none of this has had an impact on their form.

"There's no excuses I don't think," said Lyon.

"We've had a couple (of injuries) in Origin, but most of the teams have been there and we just haven't been playing to the ability we know we can. Hopefully we can turn it around. It's always tough over there in the Shire so we're expecting a tough game."

Manly hooker Ballin said the Sea Eagles have plenty to prove against their beach-side rivals.

While they don't have an impossible run home, they will face the Dragons, Roosters and Storm, and teams like Newcastle, the Bulldogs and Warriors, who are likely to be as desperate as they are.

Two points against the struggling Sharks is imperative, however Ballin says there is no quick fix.

"Every game is tough. There are no easy games in the NRL now and it doesn't matter who you play," he said.

"We're just struggling a little bit at the moment, but we've all just got to pull together and play good footy through these hard times ... when your team's down, that's when everyone has to pull together and really show strength as a team."

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