MAIN MAN: Ben Barba.
MAIN MAN: Ben Barba. CRAIG GOLDING

Pressure on Sharks to deliver against Rabbitohs

BRISBANE and North Queensland passed their finals test with impressive wins this weekend, leaving Cronulla to convince fans it is not on the slide against South Sydney at ANZ Stadium tonight.

The Sharks will finish in the top four but after back-to back losses coming off a 16-game unbeaten streak, questions are being asked about their chances of winning the club's maiden premiership in its 50th year in the competition.

Both Brisbane, 20-10 winners over Canterbury, and the Cowboys, who ended the Warriors' season 34-6, made bold statements that it's time to step up the intensity which will be the challenge for Cronulla.

South Sydney is out of finals contention but as it showed last weekend when upsetting the Warriors 41-22 there is still plenty of fight left as it tries to end the season on a high for fans.

Cronulla's destiny is in its own hands.

The Sharks are still a chance of taking the minor premiership if they win tonight but a loss could give Canberra a shot at finishing second given its easier draw.

After 15 straight wins, Cronulla has not tasted victory in their last three games - a draw followed by two defeats - which must be a worry for coach Shane Flanagan.

With inspirational hooker Michael Ennis and Paul Gallen back together the Sharks will want to get South Sydney in a grinding arm wrestle and lock up the game.

Cronulla's back three will have to deal with the kicking game of South Sydney halfback Adam Reynolds who is confident of playing despite injuring his hamstring in the win against the Warriors.

The Rabbitohs cashed in big time scoring three tries off Reynolds' kicks.

One of the features of this clash will be between the battle of the No.1s, with South Sydney's Greg Inglis and Sharks dynamo Ben Barba capable of influencing the result.

Barba has had one of his better seasons, while Inglis has struggled to meet his normal high standards.


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