Sunday’s third NRL Round 9 match is between Cronulla Sharks and Brisbane Broncos. The opening bounce is set to commence at 14:05 local time with the game to be played at Shark Park. The home team Cronulla Sharks are the favourites for the match. View our preview and teams for the game between Cronulla Sharks and Brisbane Broncos.
When: 14:05 | Sunday 01/05/2016
Where: Shark Park
Tip: Cronulla Sharks at $2.08
Value Tip: First Tryscorer: Luke Lewis at $17.00
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 Sam Tagataese 11 Jayson Bukuya 12 Wade Graham 13 Paul Gallen. Interchange: 14 Gerard Beale 15 Chris Heighington 16 Matt Prior 17 Luke Lewis.
Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Corey Oates 3. Jack Reed 4. James Roberts 5. Jordan Kahu 6. Anthony Milford 7. Ben Hunt 8. Josh McGuire 9. Kodi Nikorima 10. Adam Blair 11. Alex Glenn 12. Matt Gillett 13. Corey Parker (c) Interchange: 14. Jarrod Wallace 15. Sam Thaiday 16. Joe Ofahengaue 17. Travis Waddell.
Cronulla second-rower Wade Graham has been taking painkilling injections to help him get through a rib injury for the past month.
While he has postponed addressing the problem to help the Sharks’ push up the NRL ladder, Graham concedes he may soon have to sit out some matches as the issue is now causing pain in his neck.
“A couple of ribs and a disc in the back of my neck, which is pinching a nerve,” Graham told AAP.
“I’m looking for a chance to rest it, but that’s the game. I’m just trying to battle on and just hopefully improve every week.”
The 25-year-old admitted he might need to sit out some games in the near future, but didn’t want to miss last week’s win over former club Penrith, nor the upcoming blockbuster against ladder leaders Brisbane.
The representative break looms as his best chance to assess the damage, although he was hopeful of simply being able to avoid missing any significant game time.
“It’s hard because I was not missing this game against the Penrith because they’re my old team, and I’m definitely not missing the game against the Broncos,” he said.
Graham has a long history of rib problems, but said this one was different.
“It’s up high, and it’s affecting my neck, which in turn affects my back,” he said.
“It just makes it hard to train during the week and I’ll wake up tomorrow pretty stiff.
“It throws me all out of whack but I’m managing it and hopefully it keeps improving little by little and eventually come good.”
Graham said the clash against the title favourites would present a true gauge of their title hopes, with both sides riding high on the back of five-game winning streaks.
“Obviously the Broncos are at the top of the table and then with the rep weekend the weekend after, it’s a massive game when you think about it,” he said.
“We’ll be able to test ourselves, see where we’re really at.”
*Odds correct at time of posting. Subject to change