Cronulla will have to overturn 108 years of premiership history to claim the club’s first NRL title in the grand final against Melbourne.
No team has ever won a premiership after dropping four of their last five games of the regular season – a feat the Sharks are looking to complete after their season threatened to implode.
St George’s 1949 team hold the record for the worst finish to a regular season before becoming premiers, claiming one win and a draw from their final five games before they beat South Sydney in the decider.
This year’s Sharks outfit looked close to shot after they were upset by Canberra (30-14), St George Illawarra (32-18), Souths (12-6) and Melbourne (26-6) in the final five weeks of the competition.
They also drew with the Gold Coast (18-18) in round 21, meaning their win over the Sydney Roosters (37-12) was their only victory after the end of July.
In comparison, Melbourne won four of their last five.
However it’s not like the Sharks haven’t already broken records along the way in this year’s finals series.
Since grand finals became compulsory in 1954, only Balmain have reached the decider in 1966 with a worse record after they lost the last five of the regular season.
Manly also recovered from a one-and-four finish to the regular season in 1982, but they too were beaten by Parramatta as they ran out of puff on the big day.
In recent times, Canterbury (2014) and the Sydney Roosters (2010) reached the decider after winning two of their last five, but they were also beaten on grand final day.
North Queensland bucked the trend last year though, overturning a 2-3 finish to the regular season to become the first side to win the grand final since Newcastle in 2001 with a losing record in the final five rounds.
Just winning a finals match in itself could be seen as an achievement for the Sharks this year.
They became the first team in the past decade to advance to the second week of the finals after winning just one of their past five when they defeated Canberra in week one.
In doing so, they also became the first team since Brisbane in 2002 to win a finals match after entering the finals with a one-and-four form slump.
LAST 10 PREMIERS REGULAR-SEASON FINISHES
2015: North Queensland – 2-3
2014: South Sydney – 3-2
2013: Sydney Roosters – 3-2
2012: Melbourne – 5-0
2011: Manly – 4-1
2010: St George Illawarra 4-1
2009: Storm – 3-2
2008: Manly – 3-2
2007: Melbourne – 5-0
2006: Brisbane – 3-2