The Bears are in the running for a top-four finish went down to the Warriors 16-24 in the opening week of round two last Saturday at Happy Valley.
The loss saw the side drop two vital points in their bid to maintain their strong grip in the top four of the domestic rugby league competition points table.
Bears with five points will be hungry to get back in the winning form after successive losses in the competition.
A win against the Sharks will put them level with defending champions Avatiu Nikao Eels, which will host the Warriors at The Swamp tomorrow.
But the Sharks cannot be underestimated as they have a point to prove with their young and developing side.
The side lost to the Bears at home in round one competition and will be keen to return them the favours this afternoon.
Cook Islands Rugby League Association competition coordinator Taua Benioni said the Bears versus Sharks clash would be an exciting one.
“Bears and Sharks encounter will be based on form and it has to be the Bears which will also have the home game advantage. However, the Sharks can never be underestimated as they have proven, they do bite,” Benioni said.
“The three Bears combination, player/coach Turori Matutu, assistant Robert Heather and trainer Pare Rongokea have been focusing more on speed work, utilising the young talent they have among the team.
“They should be able to pull this one out. Then again the Sharks never come this far for nothing. It’s never-say-die match for them and they can even stage an upset.”
In the other matches to be played today, Titikaveka Bulldogs will take on Ngatangiia/Matavera Sea Eagles in the Under-19 clash at Teimurimotia Park while the Eels will host the Warriors in the reserves grade.
Meanwhile, Eels will play Warriors and the Bulldogs will host the Sea Eagles in the other premier clashes this week to be played tomorrow.
“The second round for all is crucial as the tussle for the top four spot remains to be seen,” Benioni said.
“Bulldogs and Panthers are equal on 10 points, Eels with the bye last week is on seven and Bears remain on five. With the win against the Bears last weekend, Warriors now have four points. Sitting on the bottom with the Sharks with only two points as the Sea Eagles.”
Benioni said Bears’ surprise loss against the Warriors last weekend have opened up the top four chase.
“The controversial loss to the Warriors in the first round for the Bears made them more determined for a revenge and they came firing but to their surprise so did the Warriors,” he said.
“The Warriors gave it their all to prove to their supporters the (round one) win was not a fluke.”
- Rashneel Kumar
Today – 5pm Premier Arorangi Bears-Aitutaki Sharks at Raemaru Park (Referee Tua Manea, Lines Peter Robertson and Paul Peyroux, Bench Nga Takaiti and Simi Teiotu), Under-19 Bulldogs-Sea Eagles at Teimurimotia Park (Referee William Taripo, Lines J Murray, Shane Napa), 5pm Reserves Eels-Warriors at The Swamp (Referee Paul Allsworth, Lines Bishop/June)
Tomorrow – Teimurimotia Park: Bulldogs-Sea Eagles: 3pm Reserves (Referee Poto Ngaroi, Lines P Mitchell/Paul Peyroux), 4.30pm Premier (Referee Nga Takaiti, Lines Tua Manea, Peter Robertson, Bench Paul Peyroux, Teariki Peyroux)
The Swamp: 11am U11s Sea Eagles-Panthers (Jeff Murray), 11.30am U13 Sea Eagles-Warriors (Albert Nicholas), 12.15pm U11 Panthers-Bears (Jeff Murray), Eels-Warriors (Albert Nicholas), 12.45pm U13 Panthers-Bears (William Taripo), 1.30pm U13 Eels-Warriors (Syd), 4.30pm Premier Eels-Warriors (Referee June Henry, Lines Paul Allsworth, Dawn Crummer, Bench Papa Pat, Pio).