This morning, after initially promising on Friday, we finally had the release of the NRL draw.
If you’re like me you’ve already planned your days off, your away trips and in the calendar, and you’re sitting and watching the clock as we wait for Round One.
Every Sharks game, for me, is must watch. I haven’t missed a game since my (now former) mate insisted on marrying the love of his life on the Sharks/Raiders opener a few seasons ago.
That said, some games stick out more than others. For a variety of reasons. Rivalry games. Games against sides your mates support.
Games that you expect to win and celebrate well into the night. Although as a Sharks fan this is often dangerous to assume.
Below are the top five fixtures I am most looking forward to.
Let us know in the comments which game stands out most to you.
5. Round One – Friday 11th March – vs Canberra Raiders (GIO Stadium) – 6:00pm
The obvious one is our first game of the season. Unfortunately it is an away game and the timeslot is the dreaded 6pm Friday evening game.
That said, in terms of opponent, this is about the perfect game for the new era of the Sharks to run out and contest.
We’ll see our first official glimpse of Nicho Hynes, Dale Finucane and Cameron McInnes in black, white and blue, in NRL action against a very formidable side.
The Raiders will be an immediate litmus test. They’ll show exactly where we are at in terms of fitness and overall quality.
Typically the Sharks don’t fare too well in the season opener. It felt like a thousand years since we first won in Round One prior to 2021’s win over the Dragons.
Combinations will take time, as will implementing a new culture. A loss to the Raiders first up wouldn’t hurt any of that.
Not that it’ll happen. Sharks 13+.
4. Round Six – Saturday 16th April – vs Storm (AAMI Park) – 7:35pm
Truth be told I loathe playing the Storm. Even when we beat them the games are so tight that it makes it difficult to really enjoy.
Not so this season!
I can’t wait to see Nicho and Dale run out in our colours to wave at those Storm fans who were so desperate to keep both.
By then we should be flying in terms of combinations and hopefully the results are flowing.
Seeing Nicho Hynes bust through to score the under the posts to put the game beyond doubt is going to be a joy to behold.
A fun away trip and a brilliant stadium, this is one to circle in your diaries right away.
3. Round 11 – Sunday 22nd May – vs Titans (Cbus Super Stadium) – 4:05pm
It has finally happened!
For the first time since 2018 we have a Titans away trip. Yes we played then away in 2019 but that was at Suncorp and absolutely not the same.
For those who haven’t been on a Cbus Stadium away trip yet, book your leave and accommodation now and it’s the most enjoyable of the season.
2018’s game may have been an absolute stinker but the trip was absolutely incredible. We outnumbered the Titans, as has become routine, and it was LOUD!
I missed 2016 where our winning streak came to an end due to a draw, as I was still recovering from the damage of the 2015 efforts.
Valentine Holmes field goal in Golden Point sent a Shark-dominated stadium into raptures.
Those who know me will confirm that I cannot sing. Following that win you coudn’t drag me off the stage as we partied well into the morning hours.
The best away trip of the season. See you all up there.
2. Round 21 – Saturday 6th August – vs Dragons (PointsBet Stadium) 7:35pm
The local rivalry games are always a little more heated, and fun to attend, than other fixtures. Especially now that we have consigned those Red V pretenders to Little Brother!
The NRL have made the laughable decision of hosting the first Derby game in the Gong. Friday Night’s are difficult after work so I’ll likely miss the trip, but not even a wedding will keep me from this one.
Selfishly I’m glad it’s a Saturday evening game rather than a Channel 9 timeslot game.
Although the Leagues Club will not be open, this is a game, and win, that will likely be celebrated well into the evening.
It was oh so sweet to routinely beat the Dragons on their home turf over the past two seasons but there’s nothing like waving the Red and White army out of PointsBet following a big win.
1. Round Two – Saturday 19th March – vs Eels (PointsBet Stadium) – 5:30 pm
There will be bigger fixtures. We have four games against the Dragons/Sea Eagles this year, while the Storm rivalry games are always heated.
For mine though, there is no game I’m looking forward to more in 2021 than the return to PointsBet Stadium in Round Two.
I couldn’t care less if I actively tried re who the opponent is. The Eels will do. Could have been the Tigers, or Panthers, doesn’t matter.
I cannot wait to sit in the concourse of my beloved PointsBet Stadium once again.
The sun will still be shining, the place will be PACKED and the excitement levels will be fever pitched.
There’s a heavily reduced capacity so there’s the very real chance this may be Members Only. Sign up because the return to Shark Park is two years in the making and cannot be missed!