Record: 17 wins, 1 draw and 6 losses
Ladder Position: 3rd
Player of the Year: Matt Prior and Andrew Fifita
Harold Holt finally came home. After 49 long years, the Sharks finally brought home the Premiership trophy, following a year in which they also claimed a club record 15 straight wins. It was obviously the most successful year in the Cronulla side’s long history, finishing in a heart attack- inducing but extremely satisfying two point win over Melbourne to claim the mantle as 2016 Premiers.
“Turn your porch lights off because we’re coming home with the trophy.”
The Sharks have finally won the NRL Premiership, the first time in their 49 year history. It was a great relief to players and fans, and Captain Paul Gallen’s raw emotion at the final siren showed just how important the win was to the club. The Grand Final was of epic proportions, and was never sealed until centre Ricky Leutele tackled Storm winger Marika Koroibete after the final siren, as Melbourne’s last play stretched for what seemed an eternity for Sharks fans.
The win also looked to have been lost when Storm centre Will Chambers crashed over to take the lead for his side, only for Andrew Fifita to carry five Storm defenders over to score under the posts and allow James Maloney to restore the Shark’s lead which they would ultimately hold on to.
Ennis’ retirement decision
Michael Ennis, a fan favourite at the club, shocked the Sharks by announcing his retirement following the Club’s round 20 victory over the Newcastle Knights. Many had believed the hooker would take up a new one year deal with the club, however Ennis decided instead he needed to focus on his family. The Menace, as he is widely known, however, will still be involved in the club, taking up a role to develop his replacements, as a coach for the Club’s dummy halves.
Fifita sails the wind with armband message
The Sharks for once were mostly talked about on the field, after a number of seasons of controversy, mostly surrounding the ASADA dramas from 2010. The main distraction off the playing park was around Andrew Fifita, whose support of one punch killer Kieran Loveridge caused a major stir among the media. Fifita scrawled the acronym “FKL” on his arm band, believed to have stood for “Forgive Kieran Loveridge.” While Fifita argued it was to remind himself that he needed to forgive his friend after struggling to come to terms with the crime, many thought the public highlighting of the incident was in poor taste. The NRL agreed with the later school of thought, banning the Cronulla prop from the Kangaroos squad and allegedly denying him the Clive Churchill medal for best on ground in the Grand Final.
2017 GAINS AND LOSSES
2017 Gains: Manaia Cherrington
2017 Losses: Mitch Brown, Josh Cleeland, Michael Ennis, Matt McIlwrick
Re-signed: Jayson Bukuya (2018) Kurt Capewell (2017) Luke Lewis (2017) Paul Gallen (2017)
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