Friday’s only NRL 2016 Preliminary Final match is between Cronulla Sharks and Nth Queensland Cowboys. The opening bounce is set to commence at 20:00 local time with the game to be played at Allianz Stadium. The home team Cronulla Sharks are the favourites for the match. View our preview and teams for the game between Cronulla Sharks and Nth Queensland Cowboys.
When: 20:00 | Friday 23/09/2016
Where: Allianz Stadium
Tip: Cronulla Sharks at $2.00
Value Bet: Gerard Beale at $20.00
Sharks: 1 Ben Barba 2 Sosaia Feki 3 Jack Bird 4 Ricky Leutele 5 Valentine Holmes 6 James Maloney 7 Chad Townsend 8 Andrew Fifita 9 Michael Ennis 10 Matt Prior 11 Luke Lewis 12 Wade Graham (c) 13 Paul Gallen. Interchange: 14 Gerard Beale 15 Chris Heighington 16 Kurt Capewell 17 Jayson Bukuya 18 Sam Tagataese.
Cowboys: 1 Lachlan Coote 2 Kyle Feldt 3 Justin O’Neill 4 Kane Linnett 5 Javid Bowen 6 Michael Morgan 7 Johnathan Thurston 8 Matt Scott 9 Jake Granville 10 James Tamou 11 Gavin Cooper 12 Coen Hess 13 Jason Taumalolo Interchange: 14 Rory Kostjasyn 15 John Asiata 16 Scott Bolton 17 Ben Hannant.
Cronulla have received a major power boost for their grand final qualifier against North Queensland, with big men Paul Gallen and Sam Tagataese named to play in Friday’s match.
Sharks skipper Gallen and Tagataese both completed training on Tuesday and are set to return from respective back and shoulder injuries to take their place against the Cowboys.
Gallen missed Cronulla’s qualifying final win over Canberra a fortnight ago, while Tagataese hasn’t played for five weeks.
North Queensland have also rushed Kane Linnett straight back into the centres after he overcame a hamstring injury that kept him out of last week’s semi-final win over Brisbane.
Linnett takes the place of gun rookie Kalyn Ponga as the reigning champions continue their quest to become the first club to claim back-to-back titles since 1992-93.
Melbourne have listed Christian Welch as the replacement for injured giant Nelson Asofa-Solomona, but have also added Felise Kaufusi and Matt White on an extended bench.
Asofa-Solomona was last week ruled out for the rest of the finals series with an elbow issue.
The Storm take on a healthy Canberra squad unchanged from the one that knocked Penrith out of the premiership race in the nation’s capital last week.
Saturday’s grand final qualifier at AAMI Park will be the Raiders’ first appearance in week three of the finals since the Super League competition in 1997.
They are the last of the current 16 teams to feature in a grand final qualifier in the NRL era.
Refereeing quartet Ben Cummins, Gerard Sutton, Matt Cecchin and Alan Shortall have also been retained after receiving a glowing endorsement from boss Tony Archer on Monday.
Cummins and Sutton will oversee the Sharks-Cowboys clash, while Cecchin and Shortall will officiate the Storm-Raiders game.
The grand final will be played at ANZ Stadium on Sunday week.
*Odds correct at time of posting. Subject to change