Cronulla Sharks Win the 2016 NRL Premiership
After 49 years, the Cronulla Sharks have ended their premiership drought with a nail-biting win over the Melbourne Storm in an epic NRL Grand Final. The ANZ Stadium was the setting for one of the most anticipated finals in the history of the game and from the beginning of the match, it was clear that the Sharks meant business. The opening to the game was a very physical affair, with Jesse Bromwich taking a massive hit early on, setting the stage for what promised to be a hard hitting final in every way.
Heavy pressure from the fired up Sharks team shifted the possession in their favour. A poor kicking game from the Storm saw the Sharks holding a 60-40 possession, with the Storm having to make 90 more tackles going into end of the first half. At half time, the score was 8-0, not really reflecting how one-sided the play had been. At the start of the second half, a swinging arm from Marika Koroibete resulted in the first real flare-up of the game giving Maloney the penalty goal.
Storm Gained Momentum in Second Half
As the second half progressed, the experienced Storm team started to gain momentum. Just as things were heating up, Sosaia Feki was taken off with a leg injury while Matt Prior was removed for a concussion check. The game took a sharp turn when Jesse Bromwich sped away against the run of play to plant a try and take the Storm to a relatively level pegging at 8-6. In the 64th minute, Will Chambers stepped out of an awkward attempted tackle from Gerard Beale to the plant another try, giving the Storm the lead for the first time in the game.
The Rattled Cronulla team found a bit of fortune when a pair of penalties against the Storm gave the Sharks a free attacking set. The opportunity led to Andrew Fifita finding his way over the line and shifting the score in favour of the Sharks once again. The Storm had a chance to steal the lead when Chambers regathered his own grubber for a right-side break. As the game was coming to a close, the Storm had one last chance to snatch victory when they held possession moving the ball through countless hands and traversing both sides of the field. In the end, the Sharks scrambling defence paid off handing them the 14-12 win in front of 83, 000 screaming fans.