Following their recent struggles, the Cronulla Sharks have become a target for plenty of social media fun, and sometimes not so fun.
Everyone has that one side they love to beat more than any other, and lately it looks as though the Sharks are giving the traditional ‘hated’ sides such as Manly and the Broncos a run for their money.
There are those few ‘fans’ who claim to have two teams, while family ties can sometimes lead to a soft spot for a side or two other than your club, but ultimately NRL fans are very traditional in their love for only their side.
Beating any side is fun but as previously mentioned, we all have that one side we look forward to beating just that little bit extra than the rest.
Be it for whatever reason, a rivalry with friends, a traditional club rivalry, a historic loss, a detested player, there are those just those clubs who get under our skin.
Being a Sharks fan the obvious options are the Dragons and the Sea Eagles.
The Dragons have long seen us as little brother and have traditionally beaten us on the big occasions, while Manly have those hotly disputed Grand Finals and a history of having all the money in the world while the Sharks struggled financially.
Recently there has been no greater rivalry for our club than Melbourne.
The Grand Final win of 2016 will always be extra special having beaten the old rival, but the Storm got theirs back this season by knocking us out us a game short of the decider.
The Bunnies and Roosters have arguably the game’s most fierce rivalry. It stems back to the very birth of rugby league and only broke for those few seasons Souths were left out of the competition.
No game creates more interest for neutral fans than the battle of the Sydney sides.
Manly vs Parra seems to be another rivalry that is hard to top. Fans have a serious disliking of each other. Every year I post a season preview for both sides and without doubt fans of the other side almost race each other to rubbish the other.
Newer rivalries such as the Broncos/Titans don’t seem to have the depth of longer term rivalries, which makes sense, but the Cowboys/Broncos games seem to produce absolute magic on and off the field.
Then there are sides such as the Storm who seem to draw the ire of every non-Melbourne fan.
Their history of pushing the limits on and off the field seems to get under the skin of everyday NRL fans and die-hards alike.
Below we have outlined five of the teams who seem to cop the most across social media. Please let us know in the comments who is the side you either love to beat the most, or simply detest.
The Brisbane side are very easy, and fun, to dislike. Given their apparent favouritism by referees (#PenaltyBroncos) combined with their playing on Friday Night seemingly every week, it makes sense.
Obviously the Broncos aren’t given anything special on field and the Friday night games are purely commercial decisions, it doesn’t stop the dislike.
Brisbane have the run of their town and all of the advantages that come as a result.
They have the game’s biggest fan base, a huge player catchment and sponsors lining up to put their companies on the famous jersey.
Throw in Wayne Bennett and you have a side who have had plenty of success while not exactly endearing themselves to other fans.
They wouldn’t have it any other way.
The original side people clamoured to hate. Manly fans openly hold up signs saying they hate us too, knowing full well that their side is hardly the most popular outside of the Northern beaches.
They’ve long been a side who have had it all. Money, players, success. There have been times they’ve seemingly been kissed on the crotch by officials both on and off the field.
Then there is the fact they pretty much sunk the North Sydney Bears. Of course there is far more to it than that but on the surface it looks as though Manly sent the traditional side to NSW Cup purgatory.
Dally Cherry Evans for all his wonderful talent is not seen in a great light by many fans. His turning his back on the Titans after signing a mega money contract ensures his status as enemy number one on the holiday strip.
The Turbo brothers are largely liked, while Joel Thompson is arguably the game’s most likeable player, but even they seem like slightly less good blokes when they put on the maroon of the Manly club.
There are few trips I look forward to less than visiting Brookvale Oval and for good reason.
They seem to love the hatred, which just makes you hate them that little bit more.
Another traditional target of dislike are the big money Roosters. Seen as a side who can run their own race due to ‘Uncle Nick’ being so well hooked up, the tri-colours are easy to dislike.
The way their fans celebrated the Bunnies being removed from the club will mean they’re never seen in a positive light by many fans.
The fact that they seem to be able to buy any player at any time without any salary cap pressure has many fans taking to social media. I’m not suggesting they’re doing anything untoward, but I’d like their accountants number come tax time.
They won the 2018 title and will add arguably the game’s best young forward in Angus Crichton just 12 months after adding the names Cronk and Tedesco. That annoys people, rightfully or wrongly.
Success can cause anger from outside and no team has more recent success than the Roosters.
The most recent side to draw the ire of opposition fans is the Sharks.
The 2012/13/14 era of the club will go down as a horror run for the club off the field and few fans outside of the Shire want to forgive the club.
The 2016 title seemed to awake the dislike from many fans who always saw the Sharks are no threat.
Continued errors off the field by club and players alike have lead to the Sharks being seen in a negative light.
Throw in fans who seem to have grown a collective voice since October 2nd, 2016, and there aren’t too many opposition fans willing to fight for the embattled club.
For mine, the undisputed king of the hated clubs is the purple from the Melbourne Storm.
Cam Smith is arguably the best player of our generation, possibly ever, and anyone who says they wouldn’t want him at their club is kidding themselves. But name a more widely disliked player.
The salary cap issues the club had during the era of multiple books will have many never forgiving the club for ruining multiple seasons.
Throw in the fact they literally introduced the grapple tackle and you have the game’s most disliked club.