Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy conceded Cronulla deserved their NRL grand final win, but said nothing could take away the pride he felt for his side.
The Sharks ended their 49 year premiership drought on Sunday at ANZ Stadium, with a 14-12 defeat of the minor premiers the Storm.
Cronulla dominated large tracts of the game and fought back from 12-8 late in the game to triumph.
“I’m really proud of what we have done this year, tonight doesn’t change that,” Bellamy said.
“We have been fighting all year, we have been resilient all year. We have been gusty all year and they have been gutsy again tonight.
“I don’t care what anyone says, no one is going to make me less proud of what we have done this year.
“They have been great for our club and magnificent for our game.
“Not just on the field but how they have conducted themselves off the field.
“They have built the game in the enemy territory.”
Bellamy said his side failed to take their chances in the season decider.
“We had a couple of chances there towards the end, but without doubt Cronulla were the better side, especially in the first half.
“To win the first premiership the club has ever won, that is a huge effort. They played well and stared with a lot of energy.
“At the end of the day they deserved to win.”
Will Chambers ignored an unmarked Cooper Cronk in the final minutes of the game, in a play that could have given the Storm the win had he passed him the ball.
“It was definitely on,” Bellamy said.
“You can look at that and rewind it and say he should have done this or that
“But if he wasn’t our best player, he was one of our best.
“We are not going to hold Will responsible. He put on a great play to get in a position like that.”