The extended weekend of NRL action in Sydney concludes on Monday night as Cronulla Sharks host Gold Coast Titans at Remondis Stadium. Just as they did in 2013, Cronulla begin the season with clouds over their heads with the fallout from the ASADA investigation and without suspended coach Shane Flanagan.
This time around they at least know that Flanagan will not be allowed to coach for the rest of the season, leaving interim coach Peter Sharp to fill the chair in the meantime. They can also take inspiration from their brave performances last season that took them to the second week of the finals.
Todd Carney has been ruled out of the opening match with a hamstring injury, which could create a mini crisis in the halves for the Sharks as Jeff Robson is still out with a broken cheekbone. Wade Graham and John Morris are the candidates to fill in. Centre Beau Ryan will also not be risked as he is carrying a neck injury.
Even if they are short in the halves, Cronulla still boast some of the toughest forwards in the game. NSW representatives Paul Gallen and Andrew Fifita will lead the line, and when he leads the Sharks out on Monday night Gallen will become the second most capped player in the clubs history. There will also be home debuts for Blake Ayshford and Matt Prior among others.
Monday 10th March, Remondis Stadium Cronulla 19:00
Cronulla Sharks v Gold Coast Titans