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Underdog Sharks celebrate first NRL title in 50th year

Mon, Oct 3, 10:37am by Jake Equid

The Cronulla Sharks completed the fairytale story of the year winning their first premiership on Sunday, exactly 50 years after entering the competition. The 14-12 victory was an epic, played in front of more than 83,000 fans – a high percentage were in the sky blue of the Sharks.

The two heavyweights could barely be separated after 80 minutes with Melbourne spending much of the first 40 minutes on the back-foot. The first try scorer was Sharks full-back Ben Barba who was at $13.

The Storm managed to get themselves back into the match after half-time and when Will Chambers crossed in the 64th minute they were in the lead for the first time and looked like winners.

It would be Cronulla’s night though, Andrew Fifita crossed for the match-winning try to hand the Sharks a famous win. Many had the burly Fifita ($34) penciled in for the Clive Churchill medal but that honour was awarded to his teammate Luke Lewis, who was at the juicy odds of $21 pre-game.

The boys from the shire went into each one of their three finals as underdogs and were on the fourth line of betting at $6.50 for the Premiership heading into their qualifying final in Canberra on the second Saturday in September.

Despite winning that game which set their finals campaign up, not everyone was convinced, they went on to beat the highly fancied Cowboys in the Preliminary final last weekend in a brilliant display. They were at $2.05 at kick-off on Sunday night with the Storm at $1.82.

The tears from Cronulla skipper Paul Gallen, who became the most experienced player ever to play in his first Grand Final summed up the emotion felt by anyone connected to the club.

Moments before Gallen’s tears the Storm were on the attack, looking for a miracle finish to the season.  The final whistle sounded with the ball only eight metres away from the Sharks line. It was a historic night at ANZ Stadium as Cronulla’s fairytale came true.

Cronulla started the season at a $16 chance for the Premiership but came into $5 after their 15 game winning streak from Rounds 6-20. The Storm started the season at $14 to win their first Grand Final since 2012 but that mark was quickly slashed to $7 after they started the season in spectacular fashion winning 11 of their first 13 games.

The Storm were favourites for the ultimate prize at the beginning of the finals at $3.40. As we saw this year, the earlier you get your bets on the more value you’ll get so here’s a very early look at the market for 2017.

The newly deposed premiers, the Cowboys are $6 favourites, ahead of the Broncos t $7. The Sharks are $9 to go back-toback.

NRL 2017 Premiership Odds: (Sportsbet)

Cowboys $6

Broncos $7

Storm $8

Sharks $9

Panthers $9

Warriors $11

Raiders $12

Sea Eagles $13

Eels $13

Rabbitohs $13

Roosters $13

Titans $17

Bulldogs $21

Tigers $34

Dragons $81

Knights $251

Odds sourced from Sportsbet and were correct at the time of publishing*

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