Cronulla believe they are real premiership contenders in 2018 if they continue to play their best footy on a regular basis.
After winning 10 of their past 12 games, the Sharks will be looking to push their credentials against another heavyweight in the running for the title in the form of the Brisbane Broncos on Thursday night.
Despite controversy surrounding their Round 19 win over the Raiders, the Sharks appeared to put out their best 40 minutes of football for the season leading 22-6 at half time.
But, stringing full 80-minute performances together is now the real test for the team from the shire after winning both the halves in a game only twice in their past 12 matches.
Sharks five-eighth Matt Moylan told foxsports.com.au he believes the team can win the title.
“I think we’ve showed in patches in every game that we’re a side that can threaten. We’ve just got to string those patches into a full game and a full performance.” Moylan said.
“It’s the sort of inconsistency we want to get out of our game if we want to give it a fair crack. If we can string 80 minutes together I think it gives us every chance to win them big games.”
The key to Cronulla’s winning streak has been the consistency enjoyed in the stability of spine positions.
In the first seven rounds, the Sharks couldn’t keep the four same players in crucial positions, but have now found a combination which seems to be working.
Cronulla have fielded Valentine Holmes at fullback, Matt Moylan and Chad Townsend in the halves and Jayden Brailey at hooker in all but two games since Round 9, and it looks set to be the spine leading the Sharks to the finals.
Josh Dugan will slot either into a wing or centre position after coming back from injury as Townsend explains the team is solidifying their combinations.
“When you get put in situations on the field that’s when you form combinations down to a tee,” Townsend said.
“I think the more times you can come out of a situation and talk about it on the field and in the post-match review the more you can get the combinations right.”
Only the Broncos were the last team to defeat Cronulla in round 15, setting up a mouth-watering clash at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night as both teams are fighting for a top 4 finish.