The last 12 months will be remembered as a year of the drought breakers.
The passion and communal excitement has been felt across the planet. The “Year of the Underdog” was what was announced by a Keith Prowse sports travel consultant in our office after the weekends Grand Finals.
Sunday’s sheer Shire joy after the Sharks win has followed the remarkable effort of the Western Bulldogs to claim their first AFL flag since 1954, the Wellington Hurricanes finally winning a Super Rugby competition, the Cleveland Cavaliers securing their first NBA title for 52 years and the Leicester City win in the English Premier League after being listed as 5000–1 outsiders as the season opened. Throw in Japan’s extraordinary win over the Springboks at Rugby World Cup, and you can see sporting history being rewritten everywhere! A year that Keith Prowse Travel customers and executives will remember well into the future.
Cronulla’s win came on the back of courage, pride and innovation mixed with power and moral force. Jack Bird had his elbow hyper-extended, Sosaia Feki had to leave the field with an ankle injury, Luke Lewis’ nose met the point of a shoulder in a tackle, Chad Townsend copped a high one around the jaw and played on. Captain Paul Gallen had to fight off the effects of a virus which led to him being on a drip on Monday morning while celebrations raged on at Shark Park. They absorbed everything the tough Purple Wall could throw at them and we all applaud the efforts that made history.
The try to Ben Barba resulted from old fashioned legerdemain – a scrum move (in 2016!) deceived the defence in the first half. Then, with The Storm in front, sheer determination saw Andrew Fifita carry people over the line to score the clincher in the second half. Resilient defence kept the fast-finishing Melbournites out in the last few seconds.
Finally, the sea of sky blue supporters (who probably comprised 75% of the sold out stadium, the other 15% being Cowboys fans who confidently bought Grand Final tickets back in Round 10) were in fine voice (Up, Up, Cronulla is stuck in many folks’ heads still) and surely added momentum and passion to the Sharks players’ efforts. And many true believers in the game, whether Sharks fans or not, willed them on to win in their 50th attempt.
The night was nicely rounded out by some gracious comments from Cameron Smith, the vanquished captain, who acknowledged the significance of the night and the joy that the win would bring to long-suffering fans. And although the NRL website is already focusing on predicting next year’s teams, season and statistics; we should all take a moment to reflect on the year that was 2016 and the sporting joy it brought to so many communities. Keith Prowse Travel knows that the mighty contests of elite teams are made more special and unique by a fully tailored experience that can only be delivered by the experts in global sport and events. View our 2018 English Premier League Football Packages!
By: Bridget Masters