NRL Opta facts: Tigers aim to end Sharks hoodoo to make finals

By Sports Desk September 04, 2019

The last spot in the NRL finals will be determined on Sunday when Cronulla Sharks visit Wests Tigers hoping to hang on to a top-eight berth.

Both the Tigers and the Sharks have 24 points each after 23 rounds, but the latter's greater points differential means they are in pole position to reach the finals.

The sixth-placed Parramatta Eels will look to leapfrog Manly Sea Eagles into fifth while Melbourne Storm, already confirmed as the minor premiership champions, will hope to round off the regular season in style when they host the North Queensland Cowboys.

We take a look at the Opta facts for the last round of NRL fixtures.

 

Thursday

South Sydney Rabbitohs (15-8) v Sydney Roosters (17-6)

- Souths are bidding to beat Sydney twice in the regular season for the first time in a decade following their triumph earlier in the campaign.

- Cody Walker (14 tries, 16 try assists) leads the way with the most try involvements in the NRL and Roosters team-mate Latrell Mitchell will also hope to reach the 30 mark, having crossed 18 times and provided 11 assists so far.

Friday

Parramatta Eels (13-10) v Manly Sea Eagles (14-9)

- This fixture has been a one-sided affair in recent years, with the Eels winning their past four home games in a row against the Eagles by an average margin of 19 points per contest.

- Kane Evans will bring up a landmark 100th appearance for Parramatta.

 

Melbourne Storm (19-4) v North Queensland Cowboys (9-14)

- Though Melbourne have won their past nine successive games against the Cowboys, six of those wins have come by a margin of eight points or fewer.

- The Storm have missed just 27 tackles per game in this year's NRL, fewer than any other team in the competition.

Saturday

Canberra Raiders (15-8) v New Zealand Warriors (8-1-14)

- Canberra beat the Warriors 46-12 earlier in the season and have been victorious in five of their previous seven meetings.

- The Warriors have conceded 40-plus points in three of their past five NRL games having done so only once in their previous 35 games. 

 

Canterbury Bulldogs (9-14) v Brisbane Broncos (11-1-11)

- The home team has won the past seven times the Bulldogs have met the Broncos.

- Brisbane players have made 901 tackle breaks this season, 83 more than any other team and 287 more than the Bulldogs.

Gold Coast Titans (4-19) v St George-Illawarra Dragons (7-16)

- Dragons star Gareth Widdop needs just five more points to reach 1,000 in the NRL.

- Each of the past three meetings between these two have been won by the Dragons, who have outscored the Titans 136-52 in that time.

 

Sunday

Wests Tigers (11-12) v Cronulla Sharks (11-12)

- The Sharks are on a five-match winning streak against the Tigers, their longest run of victories against them.

- Benji Marshall is one of just three players to average more than one assist per game having set up 19 tries in 18 appearances.

 

Penrith Panthers (10-13) v Newcastle Knights (10-13)

- Though they have only led in four of their past 10 NRL games against the Knights, the Panthers have won on eight occasions.

- However, Newcastle have scored 12 tries in the opening 10 minutes of NRL games this season, the second-most of any team in the competition (behind the Sydney Roosters).

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    The back-to-back English champions lost 3-1 away to Liverpool in their most recent outing and find themselves fourth in the table, nine points adrift of the unbeaten leaders.

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    City, too, have had defensive issues of late, highlighted in the defeat at Anfield that saw their makeshift back four opened up countless times.

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    Keeping out the opposition has been a problem for both sides, but they have certainly not lacked goals of their own.

    No Premier League team has scored more goals than City's 35 this term, with Sergio Aguero responsible for nine of those.

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    HISTORY SAYS...

    City were penalty shoot-out winners when the sides met in last season's EFL Cup final following a goalless draw and tend to perform well in this fixture.

    The reigning champions have won three of the last four Premier League meetings between the sides, keeping three clean sheets in the process.

    Chelsea have collected just two victories from their last 10 league trips to City, winning 1-0 in February 2004 and 3-1 in December 2016.

    They shipped six goals in the most recent league encounter and have kept only one clean sheet in their last 12 visits to the Etihad Stadium.

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