Cronulla Sharks

Top four still the goal for Sharks

After two relatively untroubled wins against the Rabbitohs and Warriors, Cronulla were completely off the boil in Saturday's 30-12 loss at home to a fired-up Raiders outfit.

Speaking after the game, Paul Gallen and Shane Flanagan had no idea why after a few good weeks the team seems to switch off for a game but were confident of quickly putting the match behind them and shoring up a top-for finish.

Sharks sign Aaron Gray

The 23-year-old made his NRL debut for South Sydney in 2015 and has played 39 appearances in the Telstra Premiership.

"I want to give a massive thanks to Souths for giving me a start and for what they’ve done for me and we certainly want to finish this season strongly, but I’m also really excited and very much looking forward to the new opportunity at the Sharks next year," Gray said.

 

Photo by: Paul Barkley:Copyright: NRL Photos. (Aaron Gray is leaving the Rabbitohs for Cronulla next season). 

New book captures Sharks' dream season

NRL Photos lead photographer Grant Trouville grew up a diehard Sharks fan and lives just a stone's throw away from Southern Cross Group Stadium, so the chance to capture Cronulla's drought-breaking premiership was a work of passion.

Sharks spirit to the fore in quest for maiden premiership

It was November 2014 and around the time the Sharks were at their lowest ebb.

They had finished with the wooden spoon, coach Shane Flanagan had missed the season because of a suspension related to their supplements saga, while some players had accepted backdated ASADA bans.

Fast forward less than two years and the club is one win away from its maiden premiership with only the Melbourne Storm standing in its way.

"I certainly believed in the future of the club at the time," Gorman told the ABC.

NRL grand final preview: Cronulla Sharks to put Melbourne Storm's elite defence to the test

People love to say defence wins championships, despite the fact that a superior attack can completely dismantle it. Just ask the 2015 Broncos.

And that is what the Sharks will look to do against the Storm when they face off in the decider at Sydney's Olympic stadium on Sunday.

But before we try to decipher what will happen on Sunday, we have to look back at what went down between these two in 2016.

What happened this year?

Wins were split as these teams faced off in round four and round 26 of 2016.

Sharks happy to be the hunted

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.

Graham reflects on rollercoaster two years

A methodical recruitment drive over the past few years has seen the likes of seasoned campaigners James Maloney, Luke Lewis and Michael Ennis join the club to link up with some of the game's brightest talent to form one of the best-rounded squads in the NRL.

The result? Eight straight wins to have locals thinking twice about turning the porchlight on for Harold Holt. 

Their success in 2016 is incredible when you consider where the club was positioned two years ago. 

Cronulla too good for Manly in NYC

An anomaly in the draw – caused by a postponed game in Round 3 – meant this was the second time in the space of 14 days that these sides met, with the Sharks able to reverse the 22-16 defeat they suffered at Brookvale Oval a fortnight ago.  

The Sea Eagles started both halves with plenty of vigour but couldn't maintain the pressure as they remain last on the ladder through 11 rounds.