Sharks happy to be the hunted

The Sharks are happy to be the hunted species in the NRL if it means they continue their rich vein of form against the Bulldogs on Monday night.

Sitting atop the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder for the first time since Round 2, 2000, Sharks coach Shane Flanagan said while the team was aware of their table-topping status they hadn't made a great deal about it. 

An inconsistent Bulldogs outfit threatens Cronulla's eight-game winning streak, and Flanagan expects Des Hasler's squad to be on song this week.

Flanagan also confirmed New South Wales Origin trio James Maloney, Andrew Fifita and skipper Paul Gallen would all be fit to face the Bulldogs.

"[The Bulldogs'] season isn't on the line or anything like that, but they need to start to put back-to-back wins or get a win this week. I'm pretty sure Des will have them fired up for us," Flanagan said.

"I'm sure I know what Bulldogs side I'll get, I'll get that tough ruthless forward pack coming at us. So we're really expecting a tough game from them – we've always had tough games against the Dogs."