The near-misses of the nineties and the noughties, the supplements scandal that ruined their 2014 campaign, the long-awaited premiership breakthrough in 2016 – what a wave the Cronulla Sharks have ridden in recent years.
The boys from the Shire scraped into the finals in 2020, but they were a long way off the standard set by the likes of the Melbourne Storm and Penrith Panthers.
Let’s see how the bookies rate Cronulla’s chances in the 2021 NRL Premiership betting.
About the Cronulla Sharks
|Home ground:||Shark Park|
|Premierships:||One – 2016|
|2020 ladder finish:||Eighth (10-10)|
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Updated Cronulla Sharks futures odds
|2020 Premiership||Make Finals||Make Top 4||Dally M Odds|
Best Cronulla Sharks bets for NRL 2020
There are dozens of NRL futures markets for Cronulla, but where are they likely to return some real value?
Click on the tabs below to get more analysis on these markets:
- There seems to be a general consensus that Cronulla will struggle in their first season without Paul Gallen in 20 years. While finals are not beyond reach, they would have to do something special to beat out the likes of the Sydney Roosters, Canberra Raiders and Melbourne Storm in the premiership race.
- The Sharkies finished seventh last season after spending much of the campaign on the fringes of the top four. There are too many teams of them in the running for the upper quarter of the table, but a spot in the lower half of the top eight is certainly achievable.
- Shaun Johnson was flying last year until a back-related injury put him out for seven weeks. If he gets his body right and stays on the park, the Kiwi playmaker could offer some real value in the Dally M Medal betting.
Cronulla Sharks players to watch in 2020
The word from the Shire is that Johnson’s troublesome back is feeling as good as ever leading into his second season at Cronulla. The Sharks are a different team with this guy running the show.
Xerri was enormous in his rookie year, scoring 13 tries from the centres. If he picks up where he left off last season, the 19-year-old might come into the equation for NSW’s State of Origin squad.
Two years ago, this guy was one of the most sought-after forwards in the NRL. Now, the former Wests Tigers captain is no guarantee to start. With Paul Gallen gone, the Sharks need experienced players like Woods to step up.
Cronulla Sharks records and stats
- Most games: 348 – Paul Gallen
Most career points: 1,253 – Steve Rogers
Most career tries: 165 – Andrew Ettingshausen
Most club champion awards: Five – Paul Gallen
- Most consecutive wins: 15 (2016)
Most consecutive losses: 13 (2009-10)
Biggest winning margin: 62-0 (vs. Knights, 2016)
Biggest losing margin: 4-74 (vs. Eels, 2003)
Largest NRL attendance: 83,625 (vs. Storm, 2016 NRL Grand Final)
- The Cronulla-Caringbah club formed in 1963 and played in Sydney inter-district competitions. Four years later, the rebranded Cronulla Sutherland District Rugby League Football Club joined the NSWRFL alongside the Penrith Panthers – now fierce rivals.
Although the Sharks made waves when they beat Eastern Suburbs in their first-grade debut, they finished the 1967 season with only three wins to their name. Steady improvement over the following years saw them crack the finals in 1973 and make it all the way to the decider, where they lost to Manly-Warringah in one of the toughest, dirtiest contests ever witnessed. The two teams met on the same stage five years later with similar results.
Cronulla fell on hard times in the early 1980s. The club went into administration in ’83 and received a bailout from the league – a luxury afforded to neither Western Suburbs nor Newtown, the latter of which soon folded. Hope sprang from the emergence of local lad Andrew Ettingshausen, who would go on to become one of Cronulla, NSW and Australia’s most celebrated players.
Despite their on-field promise, the Sharks were drowning again by 1990 and went into receivership three years later. Again, financial hardship heralded a new wave of success. John Lang took the coaching reins in 1994 and steered the club to the semi-finals or better six times in eight seasons. During this time Cronulla joined the breakaway Super League and reached the grand final of the competition’s only season in 1997, where they lost to the Brisbane Broncos.
For all that effort, premiership success continued to elude the Sharks. Their chances grew dimmer after former Melbourne Storm coach Chris Anderson succeeded Lang in 2002 and set about dismantling the playing group, much to the chagrin of the supporters. Stuart Raper came and went, Ricky Stuart came and went, and still no flag for the Shire. Other difficulties arose, including a supplements scandal that marred the 2013 and 2014 campaigns.
Cronulla would have to wait until 2016 – a year in which the AFL’s Western Bulldogs and the EPL’s Leicester City also broke long-running droughts. They entered the NRL Grand Final as rank underdogs against the Storm, but a star turn from Clive Churchill Medal winner Luke Lewis inspired the Sharks to a 14-12 win that was 50 years in the making.