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Why aren’t the Sharks favourites for NRL title?

Tue, Jul 19, 12:10pm by Staff Writer

NRL Premiership MarketWhat exactly do the Cronulla Sharks need to do to become favourites for the NRL premiership?

After notching win No.14 in a row on Monday night against the Roosters, the Sharks still aren’t favourite to hoist the Provan-Summons Trophy on Sunday October 2 at ANZ Stadium.

In fact, our friends at Sportsbet have Cronulla as third favourites at $5, behind the Storm ($3.75) and the Cowboys ($4.75) to win the comp, with the Broncos just behind them at $6.

To give that some context, the Storm may be just one win behind the Sharks on the ladder, but the Cowboys and Bulldogs are a full four-games adrift, while the Broncos are ten points behind!

Is it to do with the fact that the words ‘long-suffering’ and ‘Cronulla’ have been as inextricably linked in this country as ‘Vegemite’ and ‘Toast’?

Cronulla arrived in the competition in 1967 and have yet to taste ultimate glory, losing the 1973 and 1978 Grand Finals as well as the 1997 Super League GF.

If you compare that with their three main premiership rivals, you can see why there are doubts.

The Storm have won two premierships since their inception in 1998, the Broncos have won six in the past 25 seasons, while the Cowboys are the defending champions.

Adam Lucius is Senior NRL Writer and SportingNews Australia. He is also a long-time Sharks fan. He says the Sharks record at the pointy end of the season is the most likely reason for the punters’ lacks of faith in them.

“Cronulla’s poor finals record probably has punters spooked despite their record-breaking run. September has not been a happy month for the Sharks in the past,” Lucius said.

“They are yet to win a premiership and that question mark over their title credentials will remain until they do so.

“Melbourne and North Queensland have been there and done that so it’s no real surprise punters have placed them ahead of Cronulla.”

Sharks full-back Ben Barba was asked a couple of weeks ago what he thought of Cronulla’s premiership credentials, and his response was less than emphatic.

“I’d have to say the Cowboys are still [premiership favourites]. The way they’re going after the year they had last season I guess is pretty remarkable,” Barba told NRL.com.

“Then you have the Storm who are missing a few key players and even though Billy [Slater] hasn’t played and they’re still missing Willie Chambers they’re still killing it.”

So if an experienced NRL journo and Cronulla tragic and even Ben Barba don’t rate their chances, is it any wonder that the punters still have their doubts?

Over at William Hill, they have a little more faith in the Sharks and have them as equal favourites at $4 with the Storm, with the Cowboys at $4.75.

Suggested Bet: Don’t worry about the history, get in the now. Cronulla to win the NRL title at $5.


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