The ghosts of 2002 still haunt Paul Gallen and he’s determined to make the most of what’s being described as the greatest Cronulla side ever and break their title drought.
Shane Flanagan’s Sharks re-wrote the club’s record books on Saturday when they recorded their 12th NRL win in a row against Parramatta, setting a new mark for the most consecutive victories in the franchise’s 50-year history.
While premiership hype around the club grows with every win, Sharks skipper Gallen only has to think back on his second year at Shark Park to realise it counts for little.
The Sharks’ 12-game winning streak surpassed the mark for most straight victories in a season set under Chris Anderson in 2002.
Gallen can’t help but see similarities between the Sharks of that era and 2016 and doesn’t want to see the current side fall to the same fate.
Flashback to 2002 and the Shire faithful were daring to dream their long wait for a premiership trophy was over after a strong regular season performance highlighted by winning 11 straight.
However a loss to the Warriors one game short of the grand final saw them bundled out and Gallen said he knows their achievements count for little if they’re not firing in September.
“It reminds me a lot of 2002, we had guys like me and Greg Bird starting out, and then we had (David) Peachey and (Brett) Kimmorley and all those older blokes, Chris Beattie and guys like that,” Gallen said.
“We got to a grand final qualifier and we got beaten by the Warriors, we won 11 in a row that year.
“We’ve got a special side, we know that. But as a playing group we just want to take it week to week. We know it’s a special thing for the club, special thing for the fans, but I’d give it back to make sure we’re playing the first week in October.”