Weren’t the Sharks supposed to be satisfied with one premiership?

Greg Prichard Columnist

By Greg Prichard, Greg Prichard is a Roar Expert

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23 Have your say

    Cronulla clearly haven’t had enough of winning premierships, which is how it should be when it takes you 50 years to win your first.

    It is still relatively early days this season, just seven rounds in, but the events of the past two rounds in particular suggest the Sharks could end the competition’s back-to-back premiership hoodoo.

    The last club to win to win consecutive titles in the same competition was, of course, Brisbane, in 1992-93.

    The Broncos won two in a row again in 1997-98, but this time in different competitions – the breakaway Super League and then the reunited NRL.

    The circumstances surrounding the Sharks winning last year and Brisbane in 1992 were mostly different, but there was one important factor they had in common.

    Like it was with Cronulla, the win by the Broncos was their first.

    Brisbane had that feel about them since entering the competition in 1988 that they were destined to win the premiership, so much so that even though it only took them five years to do it, they thought they should have done it sooner.

    The Sharks were the complete opposite. There was never the belief they were destined for greatness and although they played in a grand final as early as their seventh year, their history became that of the club that would occasionally go close, but never quite make it.

    Until last year, that was.

    When the Broncos won their first title, it was like it was meant to be – from the inside and the outside. They had no doubt the top of the mountain was their place, so they went out and won it again the following season.

    You can’t win it every year, but Brisbane have obviously been a major force ever since.

    None of the Cronulla players who went on to win last year were even alive when the club’s history of near-misses and good, but not quite good enough disappointments began, but they still faced the challenge of blocking out the noise.

    The talk from the outside was that it was, after all, the Sharks, so there was bound to be heartbreak in the end.

    But they pulled it off, and against a team, in Melbourne, that knew how to win the big games as well as any other side and better than most.

    James Maloney Cronulla Sharks NRL Finals 2016 Rugby League tall

    A lot of people seemed to think that would be enough for the Sharks for the time being; that the competition would naturally re-align itself this season and they would fall back to a level just below what was required to take it out.

    But there is no evidence of that happening at this stage and back-to-back wins on the road in which they have kept both the Storm and Penrith to two points apiece speaks volumes for their desire.

    It doesn’t have that feeling, like it did at Brisbane in 1993, that it was meant to be, but it doesn’t have to.

    As long as the Sharks believe it can be is enough, and they clearly do. The rest of it is all about hard work.

    It is an open competition that has thrown up some early-season surprises, but one of the real possibilities is that Cronulla are a genuine chance of making it two premierships in a row.

    Greg Prichard
    Greg Prichard

    Greg Prichard has spent all of his working life in the media, from way back when journalists were still using typewriters. He has covered rugby league, football, AFL and various other sports for News Limited and Fairfax newspapers and also worked for magazines, radio and pay television. Twitter: @gregprichard

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    The Crowd Says (23)

    • April 19th 2017 @ 8:04am
      Greg said | April 19th 2017 @ 8:04am | ! Report

      Still early in the comp but i think come September it will be the same top 3 teams as last year – The Sharks, Raiders, and Storm. The team that will win will be the team with the healthiest roster at the time.

      • Roar Rookie

        April 19th 2017 @ 12:07pm
        Joe said | April 19th 2017 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

        Fully agree. It will come down to injuries. Fortunately the Sharks have had a great run as the Cowboys did the previous year. The Storm and Raiders not so good with injuries. Whichever team is injury free come September will win it.

    • April 19th 2017 @ 8:42am
      AGO74 said | April 19th 2017 @ 8:42am | ! Report

      Subject to no major injuries There’s no reason they can’t do it. They have so much quality and experience across the park. No Luke Lewis and paul Gallen and potentially Fifita (depending on daleys stance) in SOO aids them enormously as well.

      • April 19th 2017 @ 1:28pm
        Albo said | April 19th 2017 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

        Yep ! They are travelling really well on the back of their pack and a very solid defence. No reason they can’t go back to back pending their continued great run of no key injuries. Key players for Sharks are Graham, Lewis & Maloney. If they stay sound they will be hard to beat. They will likely lose a few around Origin time ( Graham, Maloney, Fifita & Bird) and it might be fingers crossed for fans for a few weeks.

    • April 19th 2017 @ 9:41am
      Clinen said | April 19th 2017 @ 9:41am | ! Report

      We sharkies are still hungry for another. The difference this year is the monkey is off our backs. For me, this has been the most relaxing year of footy in my entire life; I can cheer when we win, but losing isn’t nearly as bitter as if was before that wonderful premiership came to us.

      Cronulla can now focus on one season at a time, not ‘the current season plus 50 years of checkered history’.

      • April 19th 2017 @ 1:11pm
        matth said | April 19th 2017 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

        Very true

      • Roar Rookie

        April 19th 2017 @ 2:20pm
        Squidward said | April 19th 2017 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

        I definitely haven’t been kicking stones and stewing over team lineups for days after loses since the monkey has been off

    • April 19th 2017 @ 10:18am
      Sharkattack said | April 19th 2017 @ 10:18am | ! Report

      I agree with Clinen. Much more relaxed as a long time fan now, it used to be hard to take before because people like me thought we would never live to see our team do the victory lap. The club culture is changing, but seriously, the media jumped on the Cowboys to win 2 in a row after 2015, but not us. So far this year, we have beaten Canberra, Melbourne and Penrith away from home, we just need to start playing well at home again, and also make sure we always convincingly win games where we are hot favourites. If the injury list stays low, no reason we can’t make this season even better than last year !!!

      • April 19th 2017 @ 11:52am
        AGO74 said | April 19th 2017 @ 11:52am | ! Report

        Yes it’s interesting the media stuff. Because the Sharks aren’t one of the giant or glamour teams of the comp there is a perception amongst some (not all) that sharks got lucky. Put it this way I think if the storm had have won gf or cows had have been able to stagger on and win two more games including the GF I think they’d be receiving more recognition than sharks have as actual premiers. A number of pundits claimed at start of season they would struggle to make the 8 – seriously? Now it’s not impossible that they miss the 8 but to suggest at start of season that a defending premier may not make the top 8 is laughable. I can’t see that comment being made if Broncos, Cowboys or storm win the GF. Then there is the Phil Gould “soft comp” comments as well but that’s another matter….

    • April 19th 2017 @ 10:26am
      SewingMachine said | April 19th 2017 @ 10:26am | ! Report

      If Ennis was playing definitely..although traveling nicely at the moment without him.. it will be in the big games later in the year..when Ennis thrives..that the Sharks will miss him the most..and their back to back premiership hope may falter.. Good luck to em though..

      • April 19th 2017 @ 1:13pm
        matth said | April 19th 2017 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

        Ennis, for me the key reason that I thought the Sharks would slide, and the quality of his replacement with such little experience has been why the Sharks are exceeding my expectations. Is he a NSW eligible player?

        • Roar Rookie

          April 19th 2017 @ 2:21pm
          Squidward said | April 19th 2017 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

          He sure is. Local junior along with his brother

    • Roar Rookie

      April 19th 2017 @ 10:27am
      up in the north said | April 19th 2017 @ 10:27am | ! Report

      I’d love to see the Sharks go back to back, but given how close the table is at the moment and also how unbalanced the draw is, it’s hard to picture what lies ahead at this stage. If they continue doing what they’re doing now they’re at least the best possibility.

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