This is the first of what will be a series of blogs detailing my experiences at Major Sporting events I have attended. Ive decided to start the series with a game that will live long in my memory for decades to come; The 2016 NRL Grand Final. featuring my first love The Cronulla Sutherland Sharks.
Sunday October 2nd 2016, ANZ Stadium the NRL grand final. It was the Cronulla Sharks first grand final appearance since 1978. During Grand final week, the vibe in the shire was hectic and exciting. I felt really excited and nervous at the same time during grand final week, attending fan sessions at Shark Park and at the Opera House the night before the game.
I woke up on the Sunday morning knowing it was grand final day. I got ready and made my way to the Engadine station to begin my journey to Cronulla Shark’s leagues club where I would be meeting all the supporters, especially the active bay the CSSC. The vibe and feeling that had overcome the leagues club was something that I haven’t seen before. I could tell by the nervous excitement radiating from everybody that today’s the day that we could make history. A couple of hours passed and we departed Cronulla shark’s leagues club on the CSSC “bus of dreams” to Sydney Olympic Park.
I was so excited. After we arrived we pre-gamed at a couple of pubs around the stadium before the game then the moment we were there for had arrived as we made our way to ANZ stadium. The atmosphere in the stadium with just under an hour till kick off was intense, the nerves that had built up all throughout the day, all of a sudden kicked into another gear. The noise inside the stadium was electric the vibe was on another level it was amazing. After spending all day waiting the moment was finally here, the team’s came out and the noise was something else, it was amazing.
When we scored the opening try the excitement grew, I knew we were about to make history. Later in the 2nd half the opposition team took the lead then soon after we equalized, then took back the lead by 2. It was the last minute of the game, the clock was ticking the ,last 60 seconds felt like an eternity. Melbourne was right on our try line as they looked at stealing the premiership right at the death. Moments later the siren went the game was still going Ricky Leutele makes the tackle that ended the game, A tackle that would go down in history. Cronulla are Premiers for 2016 season, the premiership drought was over.
I was so relived it was over. We stayed for the post-match presentation to witness our dreams come true as Cronulla lifted the premiership trophy. During his captains speech, our then captain Paul Gallen uttered a phrase that will be echoed throughout the shire for years to come “To everyone back home in the shire, You can turn your porch lights off, because we’re coming home with the trophy”. It still gives me goosebumps hearing it today. We watched the team do their lap of honor. After that had finished, we left the stadium and headed towards the buses that would take us back to the leagues club to celebrate the clubs first ever premiership. We celebrated for a few hours before the team arrived back with the trophy at about 2am. Thousands of us saw the team walk out of the ET stand an hold the trophy for all of us to see.
I got home at 5am Monday October 3rd, after a night I will never forget. Thank You Sharkies, you delivered something many of us Sharks fans never thought we’d see. Up Up Cronulla