The half century drought has been broken and the porch light can be turned off, because the Cronulla Sharks have managed to hold off the Melbourne Storm by just two points in the 2016 NRL grand final.
Here are The Roar‘s player ratings for the premiers.
All the wash-up from the NRL grand final:
» LORD: Gallen leads Sharks into history books
» PRICHARD: 13 extra seconds, but the Sharks did it
» Five talking points
» Ten best tweets from the match
» Storm player ratings
» Match report: Sharks’ wait over
» Re-live the match with our live blog
1. Ben Barba – 8.5
Scored the opening try of the game and was a constant threat for the Sharks. Only ran for 114 metres, but involved in plenty of things creatively and was safe as a house at the back.
2. Siosaia Feki – 6
Got taken off with an ankle injury at one point, but came back and completed the game solidly, running the ball well when the opportunity presented itself and almost scoring a try.
3. Jack Bird – 8
The fact he played through what seemed to be an injured arm was a credit in itself, but the fact he did so well in doing it was brilliant. Ran for 162 metres and never stopped working.
4. Ricky Leutele – 6
Nothing flashy from Leutele, but got the job done on the left edge and always looked a threat.
5. Valentine Holmes – 7
Some flash runs from Holmes, and some other incredibly important ones that got the Sharks sets rolling on the back of kicks. Ran well over ten metres a run, ending with 180 and did some very good things.
6. James Maloney – 7
Picture of consistency is Maloney. Strong kicking game, sound decision making and as always created when the opportunity presented himself. Wasn’t outstanding, but did the job required of him.
7. Chad Townsend – 5
Not a great night for the born again half, and although he has been a big part of Cronulla’s premiership run, he made a number of mistakes.
8. Andrew Fifita – 9.5
Brilliant performance from Fifita, the front rower was the difference maker between the two sides. Made over 200 metres, tackled hard and was a threat everytime he had the ball, sending the Storm defence onto the back foot and creating space more times than you could count on one hand.
9. Michael Ennis – 7.5
The Cronulla hooker’s level of play wasn’t where it has been, but he is still being sent out a winner and has a lot to do with it. Good service from dummy half, solid decision making for the most part and his general niggle in defence – only gripe really was that his kicking at the line became a little unpredictable.
10. Matt Prior – 8
Has come on in leaps and bounds recently and continued that in the grand final, despite being taken for a concussion test during the second half – came back from that strongly to finish the game well.
11. Luke Lewis – 8.5
Personally, I wouldn’t have had him as the Clive Churchill Medal but he was close. Outstanding game from the experienced second rower, running for 148 metres and was a threat every time he was near the ball.
12. Wade Graham – 8
It’s been a wonderful season for Graham, and he was a key reason the Sharks got over the line. His combination with Maloney on the left edge is just deadly.
13. Paul Gallen – 7
Apart from the fact he assisted the first scrum-based try in recent memory, the Cronulla and New South Wales captain led from the front with his ball running, looked to create with offloading and muscled up in defence as we have come to expect.
14. Gerard Beale – 3
Didn’t really have a chance to do much in the contest, playing just over half an hour and receiving very limited ball and opportunities. Solid in defence though.
15. Chris Heighington – 5
Consistent performer is Heighington, and there was nothing different this time around. Ran the ball well, looked for opportunities and did his job.
16. Sam Tagatese – 3.5
Came onto the ground for only eight minutes in the end, returning from injury. Hard to do much in so little time, but he gave the Sharks a much-needed boost at that point in the match and was heavily involved during those minutes, picking up 53 metres from five runs.
17. Jason Bukuya – 6
Bukuya was once again, exceptional off the bench running the ball hard and injecting himself into the game. Ended up with 93 impactful metres.
Roarers, what did you think of the Sharks performance last night? How would you have rated their players?
Follow Scott on Twitter @sk_pryde