Scouting Report: The Sharks
Cronulla are out to end their premiership drought heading into Sunday’s decider.
They got the points against the Storm back in Round 4 before coming off second best in the play off for the minor premiership at the end of the year.
The Sharks have the ability to break the line at will and will throw plenty of challenges the Storm’s way.
We take a look at what our boys have to prepare for heading into Sunday.
The long wait
There is no denying the sentimental favouritism towards the Sharks in the build up to Sunday’s NRL Grand Final. The boys from the Shire are looking to win their maiden premiership and end the 49-year wait for their fans. They have been riding that wave of momentum for much of the season and no doubt they will be at the heart of their motivation heading into the big dance. Add to that their spiritual leader Paul Gallen’s desperation to taste premiership success and there will be plenty of emotion behind the Sharks heading into the big dance.
Speed to burn
Just about every one of the Sharks’ outside backs poses a threat to the Storm line. Barba, Feki, Bird, Leutele and Holmes will form the foal point of their attack. Cronulla broke through the Cowboys’ line on five occasions in the Preliminary final. The 14 offloads they came up with also showed their willingness to throw the ball around. Coming up against the best defence in the NRL, Shane Flanagan will no doubt have a few surprises up his sleeve. Storm will need to be ready to weather that and if they can, should be able to get the game on their terms.
The Sharks big men had their way with their Cowboys counterparts last week, running for 569 more metres. They also forced North Queensland to miss 55 tackles, more than double their season average. Paul Gallen, Wade Graham and Andrew Fifita combined for 503 metres in the Preliminary final and will be right there in the coalface on Sunday night. The Storm big boys have risen to every challenge that has come their way this season and will need to do the same one last time.