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Since entering the NSW Rugby league Premiership in 1967, the Cronulla Sharks have, unfortunately, best been known for their long stretches of futility. The club managed just six finals appearances in its first 28 years of play, but their much-publicised failure to capture a single NRL premiership was finally ended with a grand final win in 2016.
While the Sharks were clearly a rung below the very best sides last season, they were also clearly a rung above the non-finalists and exceeded expectations somewhat by qualifying for the finals again. They were never going to get past Canberra at home, but they gave it a red-hot crack despite ultimately falling 32-20.
Despite their line-up hardly changing from last year (or maybe because), they’ve fallen massively out of favour with the pundits coming into 2021. Expected improvement from the sides on their heels last season has made Cronulla a popular pick to fall out of the eight and potentially, in a worst-case scenario, finish as low as the bottom four.
Senior coach: Josh Hannay (caretaker)
Captain: Wade Graham
2020 finish: 8th
Wade Graham (c), Blayke Brailey, Josh Dugan, Andrew Fifita, Braden Hamlin-Uele, Mawene Hiroti, Royce Hunt, Shaun Johnson, Sione Katoa, William Kennedy, Nene Macdonald, Billy Magoulias, Matt Moylan, Ronaldo Mulitalo, Briton Nikora, Kyle Paterson, Franklin Pele, Jesse Ramien, Toby Rudolf, Siosifa Talakai, Jensen Taumoepeau, Aiden Tolman, Chad Townsend, Connor Tracey, Braydon Trindall, Jack Williams, Teig Wilton, Aaron Woods, Bronson Xerri