There’s as much uncertainty over the Cronulla Sharks and Canberra Raiders sides as there is about Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s popularity right now. At least in the national capital on Sunday, supporters and rivals won’t have to wait long for a decision. Up to seven players named in the two extended squads by respective coaches Shane Flanagan and David Furner, are in some doubt for the 2pm game at Canberra Stadium. The Sharks have centre Dean Collis and forward Anthony Tupou (leg injuries) undergoing constant treatment this week, but they’ve been named in the starting 13, along with a six-man bench. The Raiders new half recruit, Matt Orford, and former Sharks winger Blake Ferguson are among five doubtfuls. Orford, hooker Glen Buttriss and back-rower Danny Galea did not take part in on-field training early in the week, while Ferguson (finger) and Joe Picker (ribs) are racing the clock to be fit. Orford, the former Manly half, will be given until game day to prove he’s ready to make his return to the NRL after a stint overseas. Sharks coach Shane Flanagan has given Colin Best first shot at centre, where he performed well for his old club Souths most of last season, with the promising Matt Wright and new buy John Williams selected on the wings. Both Best and Williams add good height to the outside backs, one of the club’s major trouble spots in the past several years. The game brings together two of the biggest packs in the NRL, pitting the likes of Sharks heavyweights Kade Snowden, Luke Douglas and Josh Cordoba against Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, David Shillington and Dane Tilse for the Raiders. The Sharks will look to get an edge in class through their representative back row trio of Paul Gallen, Jeremy Smith and Anthony Tupou. Then it will up to their new halves of Wade Graham and Albert Kelly to light up the backline, giving every opportunity for exciting fullback Nathan Gardner to shine. Along with rival fullback Josh Dugan, Gardner is one of the best running fullbacks in the NRL. Sharks skipper Paul Gallen makes no secret about the key to the Sharks success in the 2011 season. “We just have to complete our sets and put pressure on the opposition,” Gallen said. “Our handling was poor in the preseason trials, but we have started to address that.”

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