Cronulla Sharks Paul Gallen portrait at Southern Cross Group Stadium , Cronulla . Picture : Gregg Porteous
Cronulla Sharks Paul Gallen portrait at Southern Cross Group Stadium , Cronulla . Picture : Gregg Porteous

Cronulla: From good blokes to our most hated team

Remember when Cronulla was pretty much everybody's second favourite team?

Granted, it was a while ago - Paul Gallen has been playing for almost 20 years.

But there was a time when the Sharks enjoyed much affection from the rugby league world.

With the likes of club legend Andrew Ettingshausen running around in the blue, black and white, nobody would have minded if they broke their premiership drought.

They were a good side with seemingly good blokes who played a good brand of footy.

But something has been rotten in "The Shire" for a while now.

Cronulla have become the team everybody loves to hate.

There was no trace of any violins playing when coach Shane Flanagan and the club copped heavy sanctions for "Email-gate" on Wednesday.

More like rousing cheers that the club that has continually and arrogantly thumbed its nose at authorities, got its right whack.

Despite what they think down in Sydney's south, Cronulla got off lightly in the whole peptide saga compared to Essendon.

Bombers players were rubbed out for a year, Sharks players missed a few games. Yet they are still throwing the toys out of the cot at Cronulla.

 

EXHIBIT B: Andrew Fifita.
EXHIBIT B: Andrew Fifita.

 

The chip on their shoulder is the size of a block of flats which explains why Flanagan was happy to ignore the conditions of his ban and send dozens of emails to the club.

Essendon are still in recovery mode while the Sharks won the 2016 premiership when the rugby league community outside of Cronulla let out a collective groan when a breakthrough grand final success would have once been widely acclaimed.

It just didn't seem right that a club that dragged the code through the mud with the peptide drama was getting their hands on the trophy.

Cronulla have had plenty of guys who seem comfortable in the black hat.

Gallen is a polarising figure, as is Andrew Fifita.

 

Right click, save image, print, attach to dart board.
Right click, save image, print, attach to dart board.

 

If you are not a dyed-in-the-wool Cronulla tragic, it's hard to like a team with those two blokes in it, isn't it?

Michael Ennis was not exactly Mr Popularity during his playing career. Greg Bird was no saint either.

They don't - and didn't - seem to care if you liked them or not. If anything, they feed off the negativity. They seem to love the siege mentality.

And they brought said sieges on themselves.

A string of off-field dramas, salary cap issues, the peptide palaver and generally obnoxious behaviour mean that Cronulla have been their own worst enemy.

It's no wonder sponsors won't touch them and they are in financial strife with a heavy fine now hanging over their heads in addition to the Flanagan ban.

The club song is title "Up, up Cronulla".

The rest of the NRL world is singing a different tune.

"Up yours, Cronulla".

News Corp Australia


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