Sharks veteran Chris Heighington has drawn comparisons between Cronulla's current campaign and the Wests Tigers' premiership win of 2005.
The Sharks came within a win of the minor premiership but instead will start as underdogs against the red-hot Raiders in Canberra on Saturday.
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His side will enter the finals series on the back of a 10-game winning streak, but Raiders skipper Jarrod Croker says past form will count for little.
Sharks halves James Maloney and Chad Townsend have backed under-siege prop Andrew Fifita ahead of the Sharks' opening finals clash against the Raiders.
It should come as no surprise that five Raiders, three Storm and two Cowboys headline NRL.com's Team of the Year for season 2016.
Tipped by many to be 'also rans' in 2016, the Canberra Raiders proved most people wrong to finish the Telstra Premiership in second spot.
Faced with prospect of marking up against the red-hot Canberra backline, Cronulla's own outside backs need to recapture the form they showed earlier in year.
Cronulla Sharks hooker Michael Ennis has escaped any sanction for a suspect hit on Melbourne five-eighth Blake Green.
Despite a heavy loss to the Storm and letting the Minor Premiership slip, the Sharks are upbeat heading into their semi-final against Canberra.