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Scott Bailey

Sharks happy to enter stadium unknown

Cronulla coach Craig Fitzgibbon is relaxed about the Sharks' build-up for their do-or-die NRL final. (James Gourley/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Craig Fitzgibbon has revealed he gave up a chance for Cronulla to train at Allianz Stadium, happy for his Sharks players to enter the unknown in their NRL semi-final against South Sydney.

The Sharks completed their preparations for Saturday night's do-or-die clash on home turn on Friday, with powerful centre Siosifa Talakai fighting to beat a shoulder niggle at PointsBet Stadium.

The Rabbitohs also spent Friday morning at Redfern, with Talakai's opposite number Campbell Graham again sitting out part of training and set to have a pain-killing needle in his shoulder to play.

Souths have at least had two dress-rehearsals at the ground they one day want to call home, facing the Sydney Roosters there twice in the past fortnight.

Cronulla meanwhile are technically the home team but are yet to set foot inside Sydney's newest ground.

They were given the option to complete their captain's run at Allianz on Friday, but Fitzgibbon opted to prioritise routine over the need to familiarise with the new ground.

"We wanted to keep consistency of prep," Fitzgibbon said.

"Obviously not to work your way over there through the mid-morning traffic, hang out, make a full day of it.

"We'll get to experience it first-hand on Saturday night. The guys are looking forward to that."

Allianz Stadium has again been sold out for the clash, with NRL confirming tickets were again exhausted for both semi-final matches this weekend.

But while the atmosphere is one thing, the bigger challenge for players usually comes in adjusting to dimensions of the stadium itself, such as picking up the sideline from the fence.

"The field is still the same size, irrespective of how close the fence is to the sideline," Fitzgibbon said.

"You adjust throughout the course of the year through that. When you get to someone else's own ground you don't have the benefit of training there.

"You've got to get used to the bearings.

"Obviously sometimes at Homebush it's a bigger stadium, adjust a little bit there. They've all got different feelings once you're out there.

"But at the end of the day, the fields are similar. Dead-ball (lines) slightly change at some grounds. But other than that, sideline to sideline it's a footy field."

Souths coach Jason Demetriou, though, claimed it would offer some small advantage, more for coaching staff in preparations than players.

"It's their home game but we've been there, we're familiar with it. We know what's coming," Demetriou said.

"Just understanding the size of the changing rooms, the warm-up areas.

"All those little things that you're familiar with that sometimes when you walk into a new stadium can distract you a little bit.

"Being familiar with that helps when we arrive. But all that stuff is all irrelevant once that whistle goes and the players get into it."

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