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18 Nov 2017 17:41
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Sharks-Raiders NRL bad blood lingers

    Cronulla have admitted there is still ill feeling between them and Canberra ahead of their NRL clash at Southern Cross Group Stadium.

    - article from www.rugbyleague.co.nz

    Cronulla admit the hate is real as they get set for another fiery NRL showdown with Canberra on Saturday night at Southern Cross Group Stadium.

    There has been bad blood between the two sides since Cronulla skipper Paul Gallen accused Raiders enforcer Josh Papalii of a "dog shot" during the first week of the 2012 finals.

    It spilled over again last year when a depleted Sharks side went down to Canberra and upset Ricky Stuart's side on their march to a maiden premiership.

    Now retired hooker Michael Ennis rubbed salt into the wounds of the Canberra fans by mocking the "Viking clap" as he celebrated on the sidelines post-game.

    "We went down there, played our best game - they were thinking of a win," fullback Valentine Holmes said.

    "That's usually how it is. It's why we've got a beef with Melbourne - we've taken something that they've wanted.

    "They've played pretty well here as well."

    Sharks coach Shane Flanagan also admitted there was lingering hostility among his players.

    He singled out right-side outside backs Jordan Rapana and Joey Leilua as getting under the skin of his charges in the past and cautioned against letting it get the best of them.

    Sharks five-eighth Fa'amanu Brown will run out against the Raiders despite suffering a heavy concussion just eight days earlier.

    Brown is filling in for injured NSW representative James Maloney, who Flanagan says is a week off returning.

    The Raiders have been boosted with Rapana and Papalii to return from suspension and will be out to create headaches for the finals-bound Sharks.

    Canberra are out of the running for the top eight and will revel in the thought of throwing the third-placed Sharks off course so close to the playoffs.

    "Good luck to them if that's what they want," Flanagan said.

    "Every team, wherever they are, they're going to come out and try and put a stumbling block in front of some of those semi-final teams."

    STATS THAT MATTER:

    * With 13 victories this season, the Sharks could equal their most in a regular season (18 in 1999), if they win their remaining five matches

    * The Raiders are making 31.8 tackles per game inside their own 20-metre zone, the most of any team

    Source: Fox Sports Stats


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