Twelve months ago Cronulla was a club teetering on the edge of oblivion and holding the wooden spoon but now sit on the verge of a top four finish and are daring to dream about a maiden premiership.
The Sharks have staged one of the most dramatic form reversals in recent history after overcoming the ASADA saga to move into premiership contention this year.
Under coach Shane Flanagan the side has moved on from its 2014 annus horribilis and will secure a valuable second-chance finals position with a win over Manly at Remondis Stadium on Sunday.
As a result of the ASADA investigations into its 2012 supplements program, 10 players including captain Paul Gallen were handed backdated 12-month bans while Flanagan was rubbed out of the game for a year.
Fullback Michael Gordon, who has been at the club throughout the peaks and troughs of the last three years, said the club’s troubles were relegated to the dustbin of history long ago one day one of pre-season training.
“Once all that stuff was over last year it felt like a new beginning,” Gordon said.
“Everyone treated it as such and everyone had a really good pre-season and most of the boys bar a few have played a majority of the games this year.”
When the Sharks limped to an 0-4 start to the season, Flanagan publicly questioned whether the preceding year had taken its toll on the playing group.
However they have bounced back emphatically, dropping just three games since round 10.
“We obviously had a poor start to the season but I think we had a game in there against the Titans where we threw an intercept on fulltime and lost,” Gordon said.
“And the game against the Warriors we lost on fulltime.
“If we win those two games, we’re chasing the minor premiership.
“I don’t think we’ve been going as bad as some people think.
“We had a slow start which obviously wasn’t ideal but I think we’ve been playing pretty good for most of the season.”