Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
The Cronulla Sharks have not missed a finals series since 2014 in a feat that is only currently surpassed by the Melbourne Storm who last missed the top eight in 2010.
It looks very likely that the Sharks’ streak will continue this year as they currently sit in 6th on the NRL ladder, having won six of their past seven games.
After being favoured to miss the finals and an 0-3 start to the season, Cronulla haven’t looked back as they now find themselves sitting in sixth place on the ladder.
A big reason as to why the Sharks are playing this well is the form their halves are in.
Shaun Johnson is possibly the game’s most underrated player at the moment as he leads the competition for try assists with 16, along with 10 line break assists, which would have to be the two most important stats for a half to excel in.
His halves partner Chad Townsend has certainly not been bad either with nine try assists and six line break assists himself so far this year.
— Cronulla Sharks (@Cronulla_Sharks) August 7, 2020
Other players of note include captain Wade Graham who has proven a great leader since filling the shoes of club great Paul Gallen, Sione Katoa who is currently the NRL’s leading try-scorer after getting over the line 12 times to this point, Jesse Ramien who has had somewhat of a career renaissance since his return to the Shire and Siosifa Talakai who is having a breakout 2020 to name a few.
Cronulla’s great season is even more impressive when you consider the fact they lost Ricky Leutele at the end of 2018, veteran skipper Paul Gallen and Sosaia Feki at the end of 2019 and centres Josh Morris and Bronson Xerri in 2020.
Taking all that into account we can put this great year down to a decent winning culture at the Sharks and the fact that all the players’ trust coach John Morris and are buying into what he has to offer.
Over the next five weeks, they will face the Eels, Titans, Panthers, Cowboys and Knights.