Siosifa Talakai gets his marching orders against Gold Coast and now has to sit one match out. Image by HANDOUT/NRL PHOTOS
  • rugby league

Siosifa Talakai ban brings more pain for Cronulla

Jasper Bruce July 6, 2024

Cronulla’s mid-season struggles have continued with Siosifa Talakai receiving a one-game ban following the Sharks’ shock loss to Gold Coast.

On Saturday, the match review committee charged Talakai with a grade-two careless high tackle for making shoulder contact with Sam Verrills’ chin in the 20-16 defeat – the Sharks’ fifth from six starts.

The utility will miss next week’s clash against Wests Tigers with an early guilty plea, but risks also sitting out Cronulla’s following game against North Queensland if he challenges the ban.

Talakai went to the sin bin for his shot in the first half of Friday night’s clash in Coffs Harbour, with Gold Coast capitalising on his absence for a crucial try.

Post-match, Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon questioned the severity of the shot, given Verrills was able to finish the game.

“I don’t know if he just rocked him so hard that the head came up,” he said.

“I’d have to take another look at it, but he played on. If he hit him in the chin that hard, I would’ve thought it was a real issue.”

Teig Wilton appears the likeliest candidate to replace former NSW representative Talakai at left second-row, the position he had held prior to a shoulder injury lay-off in June.

Forwards Braden Hamlin-Uele, Billy Burns or Toby Rudolf would all be options to come onto the bench in round 19.

The Sharks were again left to rue a slow start on Friday night, falling behind 12-0 at halftime and playing catch-up for the remainder of the contest.

“The boys are wanting to do well, the energy’s there but we’re just not icing our moments,” said captain Cameron McInnes.

“We defended our line, a lot of tackles there, and then we’d give the ball away again. There’s just too much of that.”

For tripping Sharks fullback Will Kennedy in the second half, Titans winger Alofiana Khan-Pereira can accept a $1,000 fine as an early guilty plea.