Cronulla set to bash Tigers

Boosted by the return of skipper and chief enforcer Paul Gallen, Cronulla have flagged their intentions to smash Wests Tigers off the park at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday.

Coach Shane Flanagan says Gallen is a certainty to play after overcoming the knee injury which sidelined him from the last three NRL rounds.

Gallen was close to making a comeback in Monday’s 14-6 win over Melbourne which has given Flanagan and his troops a blueprint to work off for the rest of the year.

The Sharks managed to put the normally-methodical Storm off their game with some niggle and bone-crunching defence.

The Sharks’ big men, in particular prop Andrew Fifita who got in the face of Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith on several occasions, rattled the Storm, who looked rudderless in attack and were forced to play laterally.

“That’s us, that suits the type of players we’ve got,” Flanagan said.

“It suits us defensively and we do have some classy players as well, particularly the young boys in our backs.

“That’ll unfold and develop as the year goes on. The way we defended last week is in our DNA.”

Flanagan said Fifita was starting to get back to the form which earned him NSW, praising his head-to-head performance on Monday against New Zealand Test prop Jesse Bromwich, widely considered the best front rower in the game.

Fifita faces another big test this week against West Tigers captain Aaron Woods, who has been exceptional in the first four rounds, running for an average of 195 metres, including 228 metres in a losing side against Parramatta last week.

“He’s back on track Andrew, he still needs to do a fair bit of work and he is doing a lot of work,” Flanagan said.

“Last week he was up against a quality front-rower and this week he’s up against an Origin front-rower.

“In the back of Andrew’s mind he needs to perform in games like this and just test himself against the best.”

Fifita’s brother David is also a chance to return after spending 10 days in hospital with a golden staph infection.

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