Tomorrow night, the Sharks will take to the field in what is one of the biggest matches in the Club’s 49-year history.
Buoyed by a local crowd and the prospect of creating history, the Cronulla Sharks will hold no prisoners heading into the clash and are relishing the challenge.
Inspiration is all around the Club at the moment and Shane Flanagan said that his side are excited by the challenge facing his side.
“We’re loving it,” Flanagan said.
“The boys are loving it to play this time of year. It’s what you work so hard in the off season in November, December, January and then to last 26 Rounds, you do it to play this month of footy.”
Having broken their own premiership drought in 2015, the Sharks have to look no further than the Cowboys for that inspiration.
Flanagan said that this opportunity to create history across the league is something that is spurring his team on and something they are relishing rather than seeing as a hindrance.
“Whether we’ve won a comp or haven’t won a comp, it doesn’t really matter at this stage.
“But the players are using the motivation for us to win a competition and be that first team as energy.
“It would be a great achievement for them so they’re not feeling any weight on their shoulders more than any other team.”
After a tough 16-14 victory over the Canberra Raiders in Week 1 of the 2016 Finals Series, the Sharks observed the Cowboys thrilling Semi Final victory over the Broncos with eager eyes.
One player who stood out for the Premiers on that night was their captain & half back Jonathan Thurston.
Recording one line break and one try assist on the night, the play together proved decisive.
However, Shane Flanagan said that Thurston was not one player’s responsibility. He was the focus of all involved in the team.
“We all have (a challenge). There’s 17 players there and coaching staff; we’ve all got a challenge against him.
“He’s a quality player and we need to be on our game. He was crook last week and with seven days, he would have put that weight back on so he’ll be ready to go tomorrow night and we’re expecting him to be at his best.”
It is this challenge though which all Sharks players, coaching staff, administration workers, Members and fans are excited by though.
With many Sharks Members and fans expected to make the journey to Allianz Stadium tomorrow night, be sure to take advantage of the Integrated Ticketing offer with all pre-purchased tickets.
This includes all train travel to and from the match.
If you can’t make it to the match, be sure to head to Sharks Leagues Club and catch all the action with your fellow Sharks fans.
Key Match Up
It is touted as the ‘Clash of the Titans’; Gallen v Taumalolo.
It’s the experienced, tough competitor against the new breed of back rower.
Despite not taking to the field in our Qualifying Finals against the Raiders, Paul Gallen is fit and firing ahead of tomorrow night’s Final and the Sharks will be after another big performance in 2016.
Coming from the opposite side will be one of the standout performers across 2016, Jason Taumalolo.
The Kiwi international has been a big presence for the Cowboys this season, getting his side on the front foot and into good field position.
Enjoy this one folks!
Head-to-Head: Played 40, Cronulla 24, North Queensland 16
At Allianz Stadium: Played 1, Cronulla 1, North Queensland 0
Last 5 Meetings:
Round 14, 2016: Sharks 13 def. Cowboys 10 @ Southern Cross Group Stadium
Round 1, 2016: Cowboys 20 def. Sharks 14 @ 1300 Smiles Stadium
Semi Final, 2015: Cowboys 39 def. Sharks 0 @ 1300 Smiles Stadium
Round 22, 2015: Sharks 30 def. Cowboys 18 @ Remondis Stadium
Round 16, 2015: Sharks 24 def. Cowboys 18 @ 1300 Smiles Stadium
HTH: Cowboys ($1.80) v Sharks ($2.05)
Line: Cowboys -1.5 ($1.94) v Sharks +1.5 ($1.94)
First Try Scorer: Valentine Holmes ($10), Kyle Feldt ($10), Javid Bowen ($10), Sosaia Feki ($12).
*Prices quoted at 13:00pm Thursday, September 22. For the latest odds and more markets on the match, click here.