One of Sydney Roosters’ worst ever sides could be called upon to protect a record of one of its best, as Cronulla close in on rugby league’s longest ever winning streak.
The Sharks’ controversial 32-20 win over the Roosters to conclude the NRL’s 19th round on Monday was Cronulla’s 14th victory on the trot.
The all-conquering Roosters premiership winning side of 1975, coached by Jack Gibson and led by Arthur Beetson and boasting fellow rugby league legends such as John Brass, Bill Mullins, John Peard, Johnny Mayes, Elwyn Walters and Ron Coote, holds the premiership record for 19 consecutive wins that year.
If the Sharks do get that far, they will be playing for a record 20th win against the Roosters at Southern Cross Group Stadium, where they are 9-0 so far this year, in round 25.
After claiming the 1974 premiership, the Roosters won their first game of 1975 before suffering successive defeats in rounds two and three. They then embarked on 19 straight wins, a run that ended with a defeat to St George in the first week of the finals. The Roosters rebounded from that loss to beat Manly the week after and hammer the Dragons with a then-record score of 38-0 in the grand final.
Such an effort is in stark contrast to the current troubles at the Roosters who have won just three games this year. It is the foundation club’s worst season since 1966 when they failed to win a game.
Cronulla host last-placed and injury and suspension hit Newcastle on Sunday in a match it is near impossible to see them lose. Ahead of them are all very winnable games as they move towards breaking one of rugby league’s most sought after records.
Next week the Sharks travel to the Gold Coast to meet the Titans, before they host Canberra in round 22. They play St George Illawarra in round 23 at Kogarah Oval and South Sydney at ANZ Stadium the week after.
It could then be D-Day as they play host to the Roosters in round 25 on Saturday August 27, two weeks before the finals start.
Given the Sharks current form and supreme confidence, it is a distinct possibility.
However Sharks playmaker James Maloney said the record isn’t a focus for his side.
“It is not something that we are talking about,” the ex-Roosters told AAP.
“We are playing well but there are a lot of things we can improve on and that is our focus.”
“We know we have to keep getting better.”
CRONULLA’S RUN HOME
Rd 20 v Newcastle (16th on the NRL ladder and -349 on for and against), Southern Cross Group Stadium
Rd 21 v Gold Coast (7th, -3), Cbus Super Stadium
Rd 22 v Canberra (5th, +82), Southern Cross Group Stadium
Rd 23 v St George Illawarra (10th, -145), Kogarah Oval,
Rd 24 v South Sydney (13th, -82), ANZ Stadium
Rd 25 v Sydney Roosters (15th, -126), Southern Cross Group Stadium
Rd 26 v Melbourne (), AAMI Park